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.