PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Native Women’s Association of Canada Interim President Dr. Dawn Harvard says RCMP’s new report on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women highlights the immediate need for
a National Public Inquiry and a National Action Plan
OTTAWA, June 20, 2015 – The Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Interim President Dawn Harvard said today the over-representation of Indigenous women who are missing and/or murdered in Canada is a serious issue, which cannot be ignored any longer.
This follows Friday’s release of the RCMP’s 2015 Update to the National Operational Overview on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women which reports higher rates of homicides for Aboriginal women under RCMP jurisdiction. Similar to the mainstream population, offenders are known to their victims as was the case in the majority of the solved homicide cases of Aboriginal women in 2013 and 2014.
According to another RCMP report released last year, nearly 1,200 aboriginal women were reported as missing or had been murdered since 1980. Although Aboriginal females represent only four per cent of the Canadian female population, they account for 16% of murders committed in Canada.
“The numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women continues at a steady pace, which no longer can be ignored by all members of our society,” said Interim President Dawn Harvard. “We need to address these issues, and a national public inquiry is the best way to inform the development and implementation of a comprehensive national action plan for ending violence that should encapsulate a focus on truth and reconciliation, healthy communities, improved child and family welfare, access to health and social services, and education — we need to take action now to change this disturbing and ongoing trend,” Harvard said.
The 2014 National Operational Overview was based on data from all police services from 1980- 2012. The 2015 Update to the National Operation Overview is based on RCMP data from 2013- 2014.
The report is available at http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/abo-aut/mmaw-fada-eng.htm.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is the national organization representing First Nation and Metis women in Canada.
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