PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, October 23, 2015 – On October 22nd, the CBC’s French service, Radio Canada’s , investigative program, Enquête, broadcasted an exclusive report on alleged police violence against Aboriginal women in Val d’Or, Quebec. Following this report, Quebec’s Public Security Minister, Lise Theriault, confirmed that the eight officers, who have been accused for assault, sexual misconduct and other abuses against 12 Aboriginal women, have been suspended from their duties. The investigation of these alleged crimes will be investigated by the Montreal police force.
“This is another clear example of how our women continue to be mistreated and abused by those who are supposed to serve and protect them. It is no wonder that our women continue to be fearful of police and fail to call them when they encounter violence for fear of being further violated by them,” stated NWAC President Dawn Lavell Harvard. “The behaviours and actions of these officers are shameful and deplorable and are indicative of the racism and discrimination that many of our women face on a daily basis by persons who hold positions of power,” Lavell Harvard further stated.
In Canada, Aboriginal women experience extreme marginalization and suffer from inequalities related to their social, economic, cultural, political and civil rights. All this contributes to Aboriginal women being the most vulnerable population in Canada; increasing their risk to domestic violence and sexualized-racialized violence. “Being regarded and treated as second-class citizens must stop if we, as Canadians, are committed to ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls,” said Lavell Harvard.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada would like to commend the Aboriginal women who have stepped forward and had the courage to voice their complaints against the SQ officers in this and to the Public Security Minister, Lise Theriault, for suspending these officers from their duties while under investigation.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
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