She lost her daughter to domestic violence - now she's trying to make sure no one else loses theirs | CBC News

May 31, 2018

As she opened the doors of Toronto Police College on Wednesday, Dawn Novak was transported in time, back to when she learned of her daughter's murder 12 painful years ago. 

"When I walked in this morning, I saw the Toronto Police Services crest and it really sent a shiver. Because I haven't seen that crest in a long time, and it brings back the memories," Novak told CBC Toronto.

It was May 15, 2006 when her daughter Natalie Novak, a 20-year-old Ryerson University student from Bracebridge, Ont., was stabbed to death by her boyfriend.

It's a loss that Novak has always maintained was preventable. Her daughter could still be alive today if not for mistakes made by authorities handling her case, Novak says.

After all, the warning signs came early. Only a few months into the relationship, Novak says she learned something was wrong.

'How can people make mistakes with a life?'

Eventually, a court order was placed on Natalie's boyfriend requiring that he stay away from her — except Natalie was named as surety for his bail.

"At first I was devastated, just devastated. How can people make mistakes with a life?" Novak said. "Yet they happen,  they happen in a busy world.

On Wednesday, however, she stood defiantly in front of a room full of police officers on a mission to try to prevent domestic violence from claiming the life of even one more person. Indeed, one woman is killed by her partner every six days, according to the Canadian Women's Foundation.

Women make up the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims in Ontario. According to a 2016 report by the Office of the Chief Coroner, there were 388 homicides involving domestic violence in this province from 2002 to 2015. Of that number, 36 were children, 37 were men and 314 were women.

This year has proved deadly too with a string of violent incidents, including Baljit Thandi and Avtar Kaur early this year, Holly Hamilton and the triple murders of the Pejcinovski family.

Read more: She lost her daughter to domestic violence - now she's trying to make sure no one else loses theirs