CACP Statement on RCMP's Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women - 2015 Update to the National Operational Overview
06/19/15 - 06/19/16
(For Immediate Release)
Ottawa, ON – Following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report on June 2, 2015, Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde called on all Canadians to share in the need to reflect, re-visit attitudes and indeed, “make space in their hearts for Aboriginal peoples.’ As an organization whose members represent in excess of 90% of the policing community in Canada, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is committed to this end.
The CACP is committed to working in partnership and to be constructive voices in developing solutions which lead to improving the path forward of our First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples.
Today, in a follow-up to their 2014 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, the RCMP has released an update that provides new data and analysis on behalf of all policing jurisdictions throughout Canada. Some of the key findings:
- The 2015 Update confirms that Aboriginal women (and all female victims regardless of ethnicity) are most frequently killed by someone they know. Offenders were known to their victims in 100% of solved homicide cases of Aboriginal women, and in 93% of solved homicide cases of non-Aboriginal women in RCMP jurisdictions in 2013 and 2014
- Consistent with the 2014 Overview, the 2015 Update confirms a high solve rate for female Aboriginal homicides (81%) within RCMP jurisdictions, (83% for non-Aboriginal females). In the earlier 2014 Operational overview, it was identified that, overall, homicide solve rates were 88% for aboriginal women in comparison to 89% for non-aboriginal females.
- The 2015 Update also reconfirms that Aboriginal women continue to be over-represented among Canada’s murdered and missing women.
- The 2015 Update shows a reduction of 9.3 % in unsolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women reported in the 2014 Overview, from 225 to 204.
- Eleven additional Aboriginal women have been identified as missing since the 2014 Overview was conducted. In addition, since the previous overview, there have been 32 homicides of Aboriginal females, (RCMP jurisdictions only).
- The strong connection between female homicides and spousal and familial violence reaffirms the need to target prevention efforts towards violence in family relationships.
The CACP fully supports the work and findings of the RCMP and the determined effort they have placed towards compiling the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: 2015 Update to the National Operational Overview on behalf of all police services in Canada.
As with the RCMP, the CACP encourages all police services to continuously share data, enhance efforts on unresolved cases, focus on prevention efforts and increase public awareness. The CACP will continue its ongoing engagement of this issue through our ‘Policing with First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples Committee’ focusing on prevention and early intervention activities to reduce violence against aboriginal women. Our goal will be to promote positive interactions and relations between Aboriginal women and police and be open to all forms of dialogue at the local, regional and national levels.
Chief Clive Weighill, President of the CACP stated the following:
“Police services throughout Canada are engaged on this issue. We want to see closure and justice for all families and contribute to the development of healthier aboriginal communities. I want to thank the RCMP for their leadership in compiling this information on behalf of all police services and their leading role in developing prevention initiatives and public awareness.”
“As an organization, the CACP continues to suggest that these troubling occurrences are certainly broader than a police issue. It includes health, social services, education, aboriginal people and all levels of government. Although missing or murdered aboriginal women are too often the result of a criminal act, there is the common thread of marginalization as a contributing factor associated with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. There is also a tragic history which substantiates systematic issues, as heard by 6,200 survivors before the ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ Commission. “We need a collective focus, a will to make change and we must move forward with action.”
The CACP is committing to a May, 2016 conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba– An inclusive dialogue among police, policy makers and Canada’s aboriginal leaders. It is framed around the Inuktitut term “sivummut”, which captures the Inuit concepts of reconciliation and recovery and of’ Moving Forward.’ The conference will focus on internal education for policing and external education for policy-makers and for those communities most affected by multiple risk factors.
The CACP wishes to also commend the efforts of the Assembly of First Nations, Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We renew our commitment to work constructively and collaboratively with each moving forward.
For further information, please contact:
Timothy M. Smith
Government Relations and Strategic Communications
Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
Mobile: 613-601-0692 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police was established in 1905 and represents approximately 1,000 police leaders from across Canada. The Association is dedicated to the support and promotion of efficient law enforcement and to the protection and security of the people of Canada. Through its member police chiefs and other senior police executives, the CACP represents in excess of 90% of the police community in Canada which include federal, First Nations, provincial, regional and municipal, transportation and military police leaders.
CACP Statement on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women – August, 2014 Annual General Meeting
The very important issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women was the focus of significant attention at the CACP Conference. As such, the following is brief statement taken from the transcript of CACP President, Chief Clive Weighill’s address to media:
The CACP recognizes the seriousness and tragedy of murdered and missing aboriginal women. Although missing or murdered aboriginal women are too often the result of a criminal act, there is the common thread of marginalization as a contributing factor associated First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. As front line officers we see the effects of marginalization every day.
Aboriginal women are victimized at 5-6 times that of non-aboriginal. We see poverty, poor housing, lack of opportunity in our communities, over 80% of some of our provincial correctional facilities are filled with aboriginal inmates. A majority of female youth that are in foster homes or group homes are aboriginal. The effect of this disadvantage unfortunately entices or coerces aboriginal women into vulnerable situations.
This has been studied for several years. An example of this is the Health Disparity Study conducted by the Saskatoon Health Region. This was a study conducted on the city of Saskatoon, but is reflective of a number cities throughout Canada who have large marginalized populations. They are startling.
When we compare higher income residents to lower income residents, the lower income residents are: 1458% more likely to think about suicide, 3360% more likely to have hep C, 1458% more likely to have teenage births. In children between the ages of 10 and 15, using the same comparison, those of lower income are 190% more likely to commit suicide, 200% more likely to have used alcohol and 190% more likely to have used marijuana.
The CACP suggests that these troubling occurrences are certainly broader than a police issue. It includes health, social services, education, aboriginal people and all levels of government. We are not so concerned about the process, that’s for others to decide. However, we take this issue very, very seriously and we don’t want to see unnecessary delays to concrete action.
As the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, we recognize that there already have been many studies on this. We feel we it is time to take the next step. We want to work collaboratively, we want to work with aboriginal organizations, we want to work with government. This is not just a policing issue on it’s own. It’s much wider than that. Lets role up our sleeves, lets be collaborative and let’s move ahead.