OTTAWA, Sept. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, released the Government of Canada's Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls.
In Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada invested an additional $25 million over five years to address crimes against Aboriginal women and girls. The Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls is delivering on this commitment.
The Government of Canada has shown leadership in standing up for victims of crime. The Action Plan takes immediate and concrete action to prevent violence, support victims and protect Aboriginal women and girls through a number of new and ongoing commitments. These include developing more community safety plans on and off reserve and ensuring families are supported to access and navigate the justice system.
This new investment is part of a range of measures, totalling nearly $200 million, to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls, which include:
- supporting the creation of a DNA-based Missing Persons Index;
- continuing to support police investigations through the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains;
- providing safe haven for victims by funding shelters on reserve on an ongoing basis; and
- implementing initiatives to make communities safer, such as:
- introducing new legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would establish, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime;
- improving the status and rights of Aboriginal women through the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act;
- enhancing the safety and security of on-reserve residents, particularly women and children, through the Family Violence Prevention Program; and
- passing into law the Safe Streets and Communities Act, part of which eliminated the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest, for serious and violent crimes.
See the attached backgrounder for more detailed information on specific actions set out in the Action Plan.
- The Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls builds on the Government of Canada's 2010 investment of $25 million to address this important issue.
- The RCMP's National Operational Overview, released on May 16, 2014, indicated that 225 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls remain unsolved today. The Overview provides critical information on the nature and extent of the issue. The research highlights characteristics of the perpetrators of Aboriginal women homicides, for example: in 89 percent of cases, they were male; in 44 percent of cases, they had consumed intoxicants prior to the incident; and in 92 percent of cases, victims were murdered by a family member or acquaintance.
"Canada is a country where those who break the law are punished; where penalties match the severity of crimes committed; and where the rights of victims are recognized. That is why our government is releasing an Action Plan that brings together a range of measures to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls. These abhorrent acts of violence will not be tolerated."
The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
"This comprehensive Action Plan responds to the needs and recommendations made by stakeholders across the country in developing a concrete and action-oriented plan with significant resources and funding for implementation. We have spent years researching the statistics and systemic causes of violence; we have worked with and have involved families of victims, front-line workers, local and national organizations and law enforcement. Their input is the foundation of this Action Plan. This is a significant step forward in addressing family and domestic violence, intergenerational violence, providing supports and resources to front-line workers, organizations in our communities and city centres, and to continue the important and hard work in addressing violence and assisting victims of violence."
Chief Ron Evans,
Norway House Cree Nation
"This Action Plan is something that our families have been waiting for. I would like to thank Minister Leitch and the Government for their commitment to addressing this issue. I had the chance to share my story directly with Minister Leitch and I'm thrilled to see my input reflected in this Plan. We've had numerous studies on this issue and the time for action is now. We can't stand idly by and talk about this without taking significant action. This Action Plan will have a direct impact on families and it will help keep our women and girls safe."
sister of Claudette Osborne, missing since July 24, 2008
"Preventing violence against women and children needs to be a top priority for all levels of government, for community organizations and for Canadian men. The announcement of today's framework is a solid step towards building a new relationship that will address and overcome this issue. Through this relationship, we can help shape a brighter future for Indigenous women and girls across the country."
Commissioner, Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba
- Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls
- Economic Action Plan 2014 – Investing in Stronger Communities
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The Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls responds to the call—from families and communities—for action, and addresses the recommendations of the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women.
The Government of Canada is taking action to prevent violence against Aboriginal women and girls. Specific actions set out in the Action Plan include:
- the development of more community safety plans off and on reserve across Canada, including in regions the RCMP's analysis has identified as having a high incidence of violent crime perpetrated against women and girls;
- projects to break intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse by raising awareness and building healthy relationships; and
- projects to engage men and boys off and on reserve and empower Aboriginal women and girls to denounce and prevent violence.
The Government of Canada is taking action to assist and support victims of violence. Specifically, the Action Plan supports:
- family/police liaison positions to ensure family members have access to timely information about cases;
- specialized assistance for victims and families; and
- positive relationships and the sharing of information between families and criminal justice professionals.
Protecting Aboriginal women and girls
The Government of Canada is taking action to protect Aboriginal women and girls. Specifically, the Action Plan includes initiatives such as:
- funding shelters on reserve on an ongoing basis;
- supporting the creation of a DNA-based Missing Persons Index; and
- continuing to support police investigations through the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains.
Working with partners
The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with provinces and territories, police services and the justice system, as well as Aboriginal families, communities and organizations, to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls. This includes working with:
- Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety to coordinate actions across law enforcement and justice systems;
- Aboriginal organizations and communities, which will have a direct role to play through the community safety planning initiative, which allows communities to take ownership of issues and develop culturally appropriate, local solutions both on and off reserve; and
- communities and organizations, which will have access to funding for a variety of projects to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls, including those to raise awareness, promote healthy relationships and prevent violence on and off reserve.
Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls
- Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2014 commitment of $25 million over five years, beginning in 2015–16, to continue efforts to reduce violence against Aboriginal women and girls:
- $8.6 million over five years for the development of more community safety plans off and on reserve across Canada, including in vulnerable communities with a high incidence of violent crime perpetrated against women as identified by the RCMP's National Operational Overview (Public Safety Canada)
- $2.5 million over five years for projects to break intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse by raising awareness and building healthy relationships (Justice Canada)
- $5 million over five years for projects to engage men and boys off and on reserve, and empower women and girls in efforts to denounce and prevent violence (Status of Women Canada)
- $7.5 million over five years to support Aboriginal victims and families (Justice Canada)
- $1.4 million over five years to share information and resources with communities and organizations, and report regularly on progress made and results achieved under the Action Plan (Status of Women Canada)
- EAP 2014 commitment of $8.1 million over five years, starting in 2016–17, with $1.3 million per year ongoing to create a DNA-based Missing Persons Index(Public Safety Canada)
- $158.7 million over five years (or $31.74 million annually), beginning in 2015, for shelters and family violence prevention activities (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada), including:
- $66.2 million over five years (or $13.24 million annually) for prevention activities
- $92.5 million over five years (or $18.5 million annually) for shelters on reserve
Internal dedication of funds
- $5 million over five years, beginning in 2015, to improve economic security of Aboriginal women and promote their participation in leadership and decision-making roles (Status of Women Canada)
TOTAL INVESTMENT: $196.8 million over five years, starting in 2015–2016 and 2016–2017
SOURCE: Status of Women Canada
For further information: For media inquiries only : Andrew McGrath, Press Secretary, Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Tel: 819-953-5646, [email protected] ; For all other inquiries : Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]