What is the CFOJA?

What is the CFOJA

One women or girl is killed every other day on average somwhere in Canada

The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) is a civil society, grassroots, feminist-led initiative that seeks social change to empower girls and women and to promote sex and gender equality. Preventing male violence against women and girls needs to occur if social change is to be achieved and the well-being of all Canadians ensured.

The CFOJA was launched on December 6, 2017, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women which commemorates the mass femicide which abruptly ended the lives of 14 women on December 6, 1989. Referred to most commonly as the ‘Montreal Massacre’, a lone, white male armed with a gun intentionally perpetrated this mass femicide, providing a clear example of sex-based violence and this event continues to be referenced as such nationally and globally. The establishment of the CFOJA also responds to the 2015 ongoing call from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences for all countries to establish a femicide observatory or watch to more accurately document sex/gender-related killings of women by collecting, analyzing, and reviewing data on femicide with the aim of prevention (for more information, see Femicide Watch Initiative).

The CFOJA is a web-based research and information centre which conducts, mobilizes, exchanges, and promotes research and knowledge to prevent femicide and other forms of male violence against women and girls in Canada and globally. The goals of the CFOJA are multi-faceted but focus specifically on documenting social (e.g., media) and state (e.g., court) responses to femicide in Canada. Furthermore, there is increasing international recognition that the killing of women and girls is perpetuated and maintained by the attitudes and/or actions, or lack of actions, not only by individuals, but also by communities, organizations, institutions, and governments. As such, primary prevention – increasing professional and public education and awareness – is also a key goal of the CFOJA. Our social media campaigns can be found here and we encourage everyone to download and share these images widely.

The CFOJA begins its work by documenting all women and girls killed in Canada, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator. From there, we work to identify sex/gender-related motives or indicators (SGRMIs) which can more accurately capture the ‘killed because of their sex or gender’ elements indicative of femicide.

Specifically, the primary goals of the CFOJA are to bring a visible, national focus to femicide by:

  • Documenting femicide cases as they occur in Canada.
  • Identifying legislation, policies, and practices in social and state responses to femicide which perpetuate and maintain social structures and gender inequalities that are conducive to, or help facilitate, the perpetration of femicide.
  • Documenting social and state responses to femicide which may further increase the vulnerability and marginalization of some groups of girls and women due to varying and combined social identities (e.g., indigeneity, race/ethnicity, culture, age, sexuality, religion, disability, poverty, geography and so on).
  • Highlighting and examining the attitudes, stereotypes, and biases that support the varying social and state responses documented.
  • Facilitating the exchange of information, reliable data, and current knowledge that can advance legislative, policy and program change on issues related to the prevention of femicide in Canada at the local, regional, provincial/territorial, and/or national levels.
  • Monitoring emerging issues and trends as they relate to femicide and violence against women more generally.
  • Providing user-friendly, accessible, and reliable information, resources and research on femicide.
  • Acting as a knowledge broker for researchers, professionals, policymakers, media, and the public in Canada and globally.

In short, the CFOJA seeks to contribute to the prevention of femicide in Canada and globally by collecting, producing, distributing, and sharing research, knowledge, ideas, education, information, resources, and strategies which can help reduce femicide and, in turn, male violence against women and girls more broadly, improving the lives of all Canadians.

We do so because we envision a society where all women and girls are valued, respected, and can live a life free from violence.

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