As of November 4th, 2013 there were 164 Aboriginal females reported missing.
1,017 Aboriginal females were murdered between 1980-2012, why is this a persistent issue in society? That is a huge number of reported and confirmed cases, the actual number of Aboriginal females being a victim of murder or a missing person may still be climbing.
The big question is why are aboriginal women the primary target for these horrifying crimes?
While the murder rates for aboriginal and non-aboriginal females have declined, the actual number of aboriginal women being victimized is growing as the aboriginal .population grows.
Statistics Canada has revealed that the most common cause of death to aboriginal females is physical brutality, while the place of residence was a common location of murders and victimization.
Generally, female homicide victims generally know the person who kills them and targets them, it was recorded that more than 90% of the victims had a previous or ongoing relationship with their offender. The age of females being targeted ranged from elder, middle age and even youth. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 29% of Aboriginal females who are targeted are done so by their spouses. A further 30% of the murders and beatings were done by acquaintances of the aboriginal female, while only 9% of the accused were strangers.
The accused were frequently unemployed, on some form of social assistance or disability insurance, while often having a criminal record. Statistics Canada show that all of the above qualities were shared by the victims. Most of the women were unemployed, although some worked in the sex trade. They often were supported by other financial means or social assistance.
A frequent motive for a killing was due to an argument or quarrel between the victim and offender. In these circumstances, both have frequently been under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants.
One of the main reasons aboriginal women are targeted is their vulnerability
If an aboriginal women appears to be vulnerable in any way to the offender, she is at risk. It was also reported that 63% of aboriginal women consumed drugs, alcohol or other intoxicants prior to an incident. From 1991-2012, 225 murdered aboriginal women were involved in the sex trade.
Above all of these facts and statistics, what is the government and organizations in Canada doing to protect our Aboriginal women?
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police stated that they “will also work with other government departments and agencies to introduce and initiate crime prevention programs within these communities. For example, the RCMP will collaborate with Public Safety Canada and other federal partners to help these communities identify issues and mobilize resources through the Community Safety Plan process”.
Amnesty International is an organization that reaches out to those in need and created a program called “Violence Against Indigenous Women and Children in Canada” and in this organization they have put together a National Plan to fight for the aboriginal women and to make sure justice is served.
One of the National Plan Actions is to “commit to address violence against Indigenous women and girls on the basis of the protection and full realization of their human rights as set out in Canadian law and international human rights standards, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
This is the first step to ending abuse and violence to aboriginal women. If these women are aware of how they can become a target the offenders will have a hard time prying on their next victim. It is important for aboriginal women to be aware of their surroundings and the people they bring into their lives. If they are unemployed, consume alcohol or drugs and you have altercations from time to time you need to be careful and be aware of who you are letting into your life.
~ Olivia Sheppard
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
This overview of the situation identifies the statistics of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and children in Canada. They recognize the growing problem in which they provide facts of previous cases of Aboriginal homicide and missing women and children. This site exhibits a policing perspective and gives information on the growing issue in society as well as demonstrates their effort in extinguishing this unresolved crime.
Ontario Native Women’s Association
This source relays a large amount of facts given about Aboriginal women, the amount of women who have previously suffered through victimization and the number of females who have been targeted in the past.
The site details the campaign that the Canadian chapter of AI is leading on this issue.