Understanding Lethal Risks Associated with Domestic Violence Toward Keeping Women, Families and Pets Safer


SPEAKER: Tracy Porteous, Executive Director, Ending Violence Association of BC

Domestic violence homicide is considered THE most preventable of all homicides. Risk identification and safety planning are critical processes that those who work in the area of responding to domestic violence use to increase the safety of all involved. Effective risk identification can substantially increase safety for women and their families, including their pets. It is critical to point out that no abused woman has control over her partner’s actions; she cannot stop the violence. However, when all systems and relevant community services join together, the steps that you collectively take can substantially help to reduce risks and increase safety. This session will provide an overview of the lethal risk factors associated with domestic violence and begin to lay out the importance of a collaborative approach to responding to domestic violence.

Key Learnings:

  1. Understanding the nature and prevalence of gender-based violence in Canada.
  2. Understanding the top risk factors for possible severe or lethal violence.
  3. Understanding the importance of information-sharing and working collaboratively across sectors to increase safety.


Tracy Porteous is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who, for 35 years, has been actively involved in a leadership capacity developing tools, resources, programs, collaborative strategies and delivering training to many sectors related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence and child abuse.

Tracy is a three-time Governor General of Canada medal recipient, the most recent in 2014 where she was honoured with the GG medal in recognition of the Persons Case for "exemplary contributions towards the equality of women in Canada".

She was a member of BC’s 2016 Domestic Violence Death Review Panel, was a member of the 2010 DV Death Review panel, and has testified in front of federal Parliamentary committees related to violence against women, the Coroner Inquest into the murders of Sunny Park and her family, and recently assisted the Canadian Chiefs of Police with the development of national best practices related to IPV.

In 2012, Tracy attended the United Nation’s 57th Commission on the Status of Women in New York as an official delegate from Canada and spoke at a global session about prevention of violence against women.

In 2011, Tracy was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Child and Youth Representative of BC, Mary Ellen Turpel LaFond, after launching the groundbreaking Be More Than A Bystander; Break the Silence on Violence Against Women campaign with the BC Lions Football Club.

Tracy is the Executive Director of the Ending Violence Association of BC, a Provincial Association that supports 240 anti-violence programs across BC that specialize in responding to sexual and domestic violence, child abuse and stalking. She is also the Co-Chair of the Ending Violence Association of Canada, the national entity that is working with the CFL on the development and implementation of its new national Violence Against Women Policy.

Tracy is regularly invited on CBC radio, CFAX, CKNW, CBC TV, CTV, Global BC TV and various other media outlets as a subject matter expert on issues related to gender-based violence.