"Mary" stood quietly in the background yesterday
during the launch of the Neighbours, Friends and
Families program at City Hall.
It's a campaign that targets domestic abuse
providing communities with information and
strategies to help prevent violence against women.
Police Chief Vern White spoke at the launch and
aimed his message at men.
"We need to focus on the objects of abuse and not
the abuser," said White, who also criticized those
who do nothing when they are aware of abuse. "Men
have to change."
The launch of the campaign comes four months
after a report released by the Domestic Violence
Death Review Committee. It was extremely critical of
police, social workers and child protection workers
who the report says all failed to assess the deadly
threat of Frank Mailly, an Ottawa man who murdered
his estranged wife and three children in April 2006.
The committee is under the mandate of the province's
The report found an "apparent lack of
collaboration" between Ottawa police and the
Children's Aid Society were factors leading to the
murders of the Cumberland woman and her children.
The report found police were aware the father was
"a high risk" and "might have considered closer
Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur, who is also
the minister of community and social services, said
the campaign is aimed at educating women on the
warning signs of domestic abuse.
"Taking action when you see the signs is
critical," said Meilleur.
But for "Mary," her advice to women who might be
questioning if they are being abused is to trust
"I knew this (being abused) wasn't right and that
I shouldn't be treated like this," she said.
- Tell someone you trust about the abuse
- Contact a women's shelter or the police
- Consult a lawyer
- Keep a journal of the violent incidents
- Don't tell the abuser you are leaving and leave
- Don't return to your home unless accompanied by