Indigenous women are four times more likely than non-Indigenous women to be victims of violence.
Indigenous women make up 16% of all female homicide victims, and 11% of missing women, yet Indigenous people make up only 4.3% of the population of Canada.
Indigenous women are twice as likely to experience violence from their current or former partner.
A little more than 13% of Indigenous people experience violence from their current or ex-partner, a proportion twice as high as non-Indigenous people (5.7%).
Indigenous women are more likely to experience physical and sexual assault than non-Indigenous women.
56% of Indigenous women have suffered physical assault, and 46% have experienced sexual assault. By comparison, about one-third of non-Indigenous women have suffered these assaults in their lifetimes.
From 2001 to 2014, the average rate of homicides involving Indigenous female victims was four times that of those involving non-Indigenous female victims.
In the territories, this over-representation of Indigenous women among homicide victims was even higher.
National Action Plan
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has developed a First Nations-led National Action Plan report to end violence against First Nations women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people (First Nations Action Plan). The First Nations Action Plan is written with direct input from the survivors and families who for many years, tirelessly advocated for action to be taken to address Missing and Murdered First Nations Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+.
The First Nations Action Plan outlines the immediate areas that need to be addressed by all levels of government, regardless of jurisdiction, including:
- Supporting survivors and families
- Prevention services
- Healing for ourselves and our First Nations
We are truly grateful to all of the First Nations survivors of gender-based violence and family members of missing or murdered loved ones who shared their perspectives during the AFN’s regional engagement process. We also appreciate the contributions and guidance from the regional grassroots organizations, family and survivors coalitions, Family Information Liaison Units, and AFN Regional Offices who supported this important work.
Regional Engagement Strategy
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Women’s Council co-hosted regional engagement sessions to help develop the First Nations Action Plan. The regional engagement strategy was a First Nations-led process designed using a “families first” principle and trauma informed approach. Chiefs-in-Assembly provided the mandate with Resolution 67/2019 to coordinate its own engagement with First Nations, with the planning of engagement being inclusive of any Nation, women, or regional-led processes.
The following reports were produced as a result of the regional engagement strategy:
- Atlantic Regional Report
- Quebec-Labrador Regional Report
- Ontario Regional Report
- Saskatchewan Regional Report
- British Columbia Regional Report
- Northwest Territory Regional Report
- Yukon Territory Regional Report
Calls for Justice
In June 2019 the National Inquiry completed their mandate with the release of their Final Report entitled Reclaiming Power and Place. The Final Report explores the many intersectional issues contributing to the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The Final Report identifies four areas of rights holders: right to culture, right to health and wellness, right to human security, and right to justice.
The National Inquiry identified over 231 Calls to Justice to end systemic causes of violence threatening the safety of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada, grouped into 18 main Calls for Justice. Each Call for Justice contains several sub-sections, which include the Commissioners’ detailed recommendations. There are specific Calls for Justice for Inuit, Métis and 2SLGBTQQIA people, but there are no specific recommendations for First Nations.
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
In September 2016, the Government of Canada established an independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry). The National Inquiry mandate was to make recommendations to eliminate systemic causes of violence and to assure the safety of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. They were also to recommend ways to honour and commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The National Inquiry was given a 2-year timeframe to complete their work, which was later extended by 6-months.
The National Inquiry used a Truth Gathering process with community hearings for survivors and family members, and expert panels with knowledge keepers and academic experts on topics including Indigenous Law, human rights, racism, Government services, policies and practices. More than 2,380 people participated in the National Inquiry.
The AFN felt it was necessary to participate in the National Inquiry’s truth gathering process to support those survivors and family members who chose to participate and ensure their needs remained paramount throughout the process. The AFN believes that survivors and family members who participated in the National Inquiry’s process, and those who chose not to participate, must be lifted-up and supported. The AFN made a final submission to the National Inquiry in December 2018 containing First Nations specific recommendations responding to the multi-faceted systemic issues that put First Nations women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people at risk.
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