A new report from the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative shows that Manitoba had the highest rate of domestic homicide amongst the provinces between 2010 and 2015, although it had a lower rate of domestic homicide than Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The report also found that 79 percent of adult domestic homicide victims were female, and 53 percent were either refugees or immigrants, people of Indigenous heritage, people living in rural areas or children.

Ikwe Widdkiitiwin is one of Manitoba’s largest women’s shelters. Ikwe Widdkiitiwin's executive director Stephanie Johnson told CTV News that the most important thing was to believe survivors. 

“A lot of times that’s the one that hurts the most,” said Johnson. 

“When you’ve had the courage to go out, you’ve have the courage to ask for help and then you’re not being believed.” 

Johnson also stressed the importance of educating men, families and the greater community, suggesting that such an education should begin before adolescence in teaching students what healthy boundaries and healthy relationships look like. 

“If we do take time to educate people, hopefully one day there would be no need for my job,” said Johnson. 

Alexa Legere is a survivor of domestic violence, now using her lived experience to support other women in Winnipeg through her work at the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre and the Mama Bear Clan. 

The mother of five pointed to her children as being her source of strength in leaving her abuser, and said she now works to provide other survivors with as many resources as possible. 

“If they feel that they’re stuck then I have another route they can take, because it’s not just get up and leave when you have children and it’s your home,” said Legere. 

Legere said survivors need to be able to come forward without fear of judgment and stigma, and said more awareness needs to be raised in Manitoba. 

“Not just to push it under the rug,” said Legere.