RCMP report records 1,181 incidents of missing and murdered aboriginal women

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A new report from the RCMP indicates the number of missing and murdered indigenous women across the country is much higher than previous estimates.

Numbers released today by the force based on police-recorded aboriginal female homicides and unresolved missing aboriginal women cases show a total of 1,181 incidents, including 1,017 murder victims.

This total includes 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered indigenous females, according to the RCMP.

“Every file we reviewed represents a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt or friend,” RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson stated in a news release. “We cannot lose sight of the human aspect of these incidents and we call upon partners and communities to work together to find solutions to this issue.”

The number of homicides was collected from incidents reported between 1980 and 2012. The amount of aboriginal females that were victims of homicide during that time period represents 16 percent of all female murders, a proportion much higher than the representation of indigenous people in Canada’s female population, at about 4 percent.

The report also indicates that aboriginal female victims were most often murdered by an acquaintance, at 30 percent of cases. Among non-aboriginal victims of female homicides, 41 percent were killed by a current or former spouse.

The number of aboriginal female homicide victims was the highest in Alberta, B.C. and Manitoba. The amount of unsolved cases is also the highest in B.C., with 40 missing women cases recorded in the report, and 36 unsolved homicides.

As of November 4, 2013, there were 164 missing indigenous females.

The report notes that the statistics presented may not reflect the total number of missing women “due to a variety of factors including a missing female not being identified as Aboriginal during the investigation and/or a disappearance not being reported to police”.

The number of homicide cases outlined in the report was based on data from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Homicide Survey, and on a review with close to 300 police agencies across the country.

The survey includes incidents substantiated by investigators as “an offence of culpable homicide”. Suspected murders or deaths considered suspicious were not included in the analysis.

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Alan Layton
I found this report quite surprising, not because of the disproportionately high rate amongst aboriginal women - that fact has been well-publicized - but because of the real 'faces' of the men killing these women. This story mentioned that 30% of solved cases involved an acquaintance of these women, but left out that 29% were murdered by a spouse and 24% by a family member. So up to 83% of their killers could be other First Nations, although I'm sure a proportion of the spouses and acquaintances were non-aboriginal. Up until this point the poster boy for murdered aboriginal women has been the ugly and very white Robert Pickton. This has been very misleading and it appears that more effort is needed by the First Nations leadership itself, since the attackers are mainly aboriginal males.

Another stunning statistic was that the solve rate is almost identical between aboriginal and non-aboriginal cases, which flies in the face of what we have been told repeatedly, which is that law enforcement does not care about aboriginal women.

In order to help any dire situation you need to cut through the propaganda and try to establish some facts, and the fact is that we have been misled all these years and even if the RCMP report is too skewed in their favour, it at least shows that there is another side to the story. Time for news outlets to start fact checking both sides instead of just running with whatever sells the most advertising.
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