March 4, 2015 8:01 am
Updated: March 4, 2015 7:22 pm

Nearly a quarter of Ontarians still blame victims of domestic abuse

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WATCH: Angie Seth has the details on the disturbing report that shows 24 per cent of Canadians feel domestic abuse victims bring the abuse upon themselves.

TORONTO – Close to a quarter of Ontarians still blame victims of domestic abuse and only 58 per cent would intervene if abuse was disclosed, according to a new poll.

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The survey conducted by Angus Reid Forum on behalf of Interval House, a Toronto shelter for abused women, indicates 24 per cent believe it is possible for someone to bring abuse upon themselves.

This belief is higher among men (34.3 per cent) than among women (14.1 per cent).

“Abuse is always the responsibility of the abuser,” said Renee Weekes, Chair of the Board of Directors at Interval House, in a media release.

“Women who experience violence need to know that abuse is never their fault and that there are resources in the community to support them.”

The poll comes days before the launch of International Women’s Day on March 8.

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The survey also suggests that only 58.3 per cent of Ontarians would consider intervening in an abusive relationship if someone told them that their spouse or partner was abusive.

“It’s shocking for us to see that only 58.3 per cent of our neighbours would consider helping if someone in their life came forward and disclosed abuse,” Weekes said.

Meanwhile, only 55.8 per cent would intervene in an abusive situation if they saw bruises or injures and suspected the spouse was the cause.

However, the number jumps to 75.8 per cent if they personally witnessed abuse.

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Less than a quarter (17.1 per cent) of Ontarians don’t believe it’s their place to interfere if they suspect abusive behaviour is going on and a third (33.5 per cent) of Ontarians would not know what to do if they suspected abuse.

“Our community must begin to move to an attitude of zero tolerance for violence and empathy for victims if we ever want to see an end to the private hell experienced by so many women,” said Weekes.

The Angus Reid Forum online poll was conducted between Feb. 17 to 18 among 805 respondents with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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