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Board of Health moves domestic violence report to council

The report was dedicated in memory of Abdille, who was nurse for Toronto Public Health.

“This is an important issue that is worthy of our attention in any event, but it had special significance because of the death of Zahra Abdille,” said Dr. David McKeown.

“The report is really a commitment by Toronto Public Health to do what we can within our mandate to both prevent, identify early and respond to Intimate Partner Violence, which contain some recommendations for other organizations.”

One recommendation from the board requests Toronto Police Service Board to review policies related to responding to domestic violence incidents, which include mandatory charging and the enforcement of no-contact orders.

Abdille and her two sons were found dead in their Thorncliffe apartment on Nov. 29 2014. Police later identified Abdille’s husband was struck and killed by a car on the Don Valley Parkway, hours before the mother and children were found.

READ MORE: Dozens attend funeral for murdered mom and two sons

READ MORE: Triple homicide underscores barriers to escaping domestic violence

Abdille was the victim of alleged domestic abuse prior to her death and spent three weeks at Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, a shelter for abused women in 2013.

“This is a way of elevating the conversation from something we are concerned about as Public Health people but it’s something we want the whole city to be concerned about in all our various agencies and boards,” said Public Health Board Chair Joe Mihevc.

Mihevc said the province needs to do more in support more adding the provincial governments is responsible for Violence Against Women shelters

“Really the port of first call really has to be the province,” said Mihevc.

More than a decade ago, Rose Palma was involved in an abusive relationship and sought refuge in the same shelter Abdille went to.

“Finding a space, accommodation for myself and two children, they told me I was lucky because a lot of places had been taken and I was lucky to find a place for me and my kids,” Palma said.

“I know there were times when people were turned down because they couldn’t find a place to go and get help, because places were filled. There wasn’t enough shelters out there that were able to support the amount of women that needed help.”

Palma said there needs to be more community support.

“It should be mandatory that they should get help to that woman before it is too late,” she said.

The report will be forwarded to city council for debate and discussion.


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