Meadow Lake homicide-suicide a reminder of growing intimate partner violence in Saskatchewan

Charlene Graham, who was also known as Charlene Aubichon, was found dead outside of a camper-trailer on Aug. 30 at the Lions Park campground in Meadow Lake, Sask. Photo: Facebook

A community is mourning after what RCMP described as a “homicide-suicide” happened Aug. 30 at a Meadow Lake, Sask. campground.

Thirty-four-year-old Charlene Graham from the Flying Dust First Nation was identified this week as the person police found dead outside of a camper at the Lions Park campground.

It’s the same camper where police located her deceased estranged husband — 34-year-old Delane Graham from Thunderchild First Nation — deceased by apparent suicide.

Charlene’s sister, Della Duquette, suffered a minor injury from the attack before she escaped, according to a report from CBC Saskatchewan.

RCMP had shared in a release on Tuesday that the Meadow Lake detachment received multiple reports of a firearm discharged just after 2:30 p.m. at the campground.

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Police stated in the same release that they received a wellness check request for Charlene from a person who was concerned about her. Officers began making inquiries regarding the request before they received reports of the gunshot.

However, reports came out soon after the incident about how her estranged husband became progressively abusive towards her.

The CBC Saskatchewan report included her family discussing the harassment and death threats Charlene faced when she attempted to leave the relationship before the incident occurred.

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Global News reached out to her family members on Thursday, but attempts were unsuccessful.

Sask. leads intimate partner homicide rate

According to the Provincial Association of Transitional Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, also known as PATHS, Saskatchewan has over double the national rate of police-reported incidents of intimate partner violence.

In addition, the province also holds the highest per-capita rate of intimate partner homicide in the country.

Jo-Anne Dusel, executive director of PATHS, mentioned that the rates of these incidences tend to be nearly double the number of what occurs in urban areas.

Dusel suggested there is sometimes a higher sense of independence and privacy among close knit families in rural and remote areas.

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She said sometimes people have a sense of not wanting to share private information about what’s going on at home and that there may still be a lot of stigma around experiencing intimate partner violence or fear of being judged or blamed.

“When people become aware that someone close to them is experiencing violence, it doesn’t mean they’re ever responsible when the worst happens. But what it does mean is we want people to understand when there are risk factors, what those are, what they look like and when it is really urgent that they really try and get the person who is at risk to reach out for support,” explained Dusel.

She commended Charlene’s family for coming forward to tell her story saying it is extremely helpful when families who have experienced a loss like this can help others in similar situations.

“It can help others to recognize those risk factors,” Dusel continued.

“In this situation, as in many others, Charlene had made a decision to leave the relationship. But from what her family said, he always found a way to bring her back into that relationship.”

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Dusel encouraged anybody who feels they might be at risk or someone they know might be at risk to reach out to any of PATHS member agencies.

She said there are many agencies available that are ready and willing to help.

“You don’t have to go and stay at a shelter. You can call, you can ask questions. You can ask how to support someone else and you can ask what services might be available for yourself. Just know you are not alone.”

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