International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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Text by Josephine Li
Design by Elliot Carol Chow

November 25 is a day that raises awareness about how women around the world are often subjected to various forms of violence.


  • November 25, 1960 – Dominican Republic political activists, the Mirabal sisters, were assassinated by Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo.

  • November 25, 1981 – activists at the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentros marked this day to combat and raise awareness of violence against women more broadly.

  • December 17, 1999 – the date receives its official United Nations resolution

What are forms of violence?

The United Nations defines violence against women as harm that is:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Psychological

In Canada

  • Canadians collective spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone, according to the Department of Justice. This includes costs such as emergency room visits, loss of income, funerals.
  • The majority of spousal violence victims are women, representing 83% of all victims.
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • 4 in 10 women victimized by their spouse report being physically injured (42%), more than twice the proportion of male victims (18%)
  • Women are three times more likely to report being beaten, choked, sexually assaulted, or threatened with a gun or knife by their partner or ex-partner.
  • Women are more likely to experience multiple victimizations, according to self-reported data.

What is LAO doing?

LAO has a Domestic Violence Strategy that attempts to address the legal issues that domestic violence survivors experience by:

  • Making it easier to access services
  • Improving the way LAO staff, community legal clinics, and private lawyers provide legal help
  • Working with community groups to bring about sustainable change

More information


  • Department of Justice Canada (2009). An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada.
  • Statistics Canada (2009). Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry.
  • Statistics Canada (1993). The Violence Against Women Survey. Although more up-to-date data would be preferable, no recent Statistics Canada survey has asked women about their life-time experience of violence.
  • Statistics Canada (2013). Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry.