The goals of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) are multi-faceted, but focus specifically on documenting social and state responses to femicide in Canada. 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 organizations, institutions and governments.
For our purposes, we define femicide as the killing of all women and girls primarily by, but not exclusively, men. We do so for two reasons.
First, given that the CFOJA focuses on femicide using a national lens in Canada, this definition enhances the ability to make provincial/territorial comparisons. This same reasoning is used to support the adoption of a broad definition at the international level.
Second, this definition allows for the possibility that femicide may involve female perpetrators in various social and cultural contexts.
It will be our goal, however, to direct subsequent efforts to develop more specific parameters that can capture the ‘killed because they were women’ elements of narrower definitions of femicide and to identify various subtypes of femicide.
As part of its research and knowledge mobilization activities on femicide, the CFOJA will:
- Establish a visible and national focus on social and state responses to femicide in Canada;
- Count and track cases of femicide as they occur throughout the country while also remembering and honouring these women and girls;
- Identify legislation, policies and practices in social and state responses to femicide that perpetuate and maintain social structures and gender inequalities that are conducive to, or help facilitate, the perpetration of femicide;
- Document social and state responses to femicide that may further increase the vulnerability and marginalization of some groups of girls and women due to varying social identities (e.g. indigeneity, race/ethnicity, culture, age, LGBTQ2, religion, disability, poverty, geography and so on);
- Identify and examine the stereotypes and biases that support the varying social and state responses documented;
- Facilitate 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;
- Monitor emerging issues and trends as they relate to femicide and violence against women more generally;
- Provide user-friendly and reliable information, resources and research on femicide;
- Act as a knowledge broker for researchers, professionals, policy-makers, media and the public.
In summary, the CFOJA seeks to contribute to the prevention of femicide in Canada by collecting, producing, distributing and sharing research, knowledge, ideas, education, information, resources and strategies which can help reduce femicide and, in turn, improve the lives of girls and women in Canada.
We do so because we envision a Canadian society where all women and girls are valued, respected and live free from violence.