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Government Response to the RCMP National Operational Overview on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/16/14 -- Department of Justice Canada

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay has issued the following statement on the RCMP's National Operational Overview on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, which was released today:

"On behalf of the Government, I would like to thank the RCMP for their comprehensive study. As we can all agree, one missing person is one too many. All Canadians expect the RCMP to continue to investigate every missing persons case with all the resources and capabilities available to them. That includes any that they discovered while compiling this report.

For too long, the voices of victims have too often been ignored, while the system has over-emphasized those of the criminals. The RCMP's findings are clear and provide important data about how the perpetrators of these heinous crimes abused their victims. According to the information compiled, 62 percent of homicides of Aboriginal women were committed by a family member who had previously abused the victim. Forty percent of murdered Aboriginal women were killed as a result of an argument with their perpetrator. Forty-four percent of those who murdered Aboriginal women had consumed intoxicants prior to committing the crime. In comparison, the perpetrators of homicide among non-Aboriginal females were less likely to have a history of family violence with their victim; less likely to have a criminal record; and less likely to have consumed intoxicants prior to committing their crime.

I was encouraged that the nearly nine out of every ten homicides were solved by the police, and the solve rate is the same regardless of whether the victim was an Aboriginal female or a non-Aboriginal female. While the solve rate was much lower for those involved in the sex trade, again it did not vary significantly according to whether the victim was an Aboriginal female or a non-Aboriginal female.

This comprehensive study will help further inform the actions the Government is taking in our efforts to keep our streets and communities safe. Some 40 studies have already been completed over the years dealing with the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. We must continue to take concrete action now, not just continue to study the issue. Information gathering and discussions may help, but police investigations, new tools and techniques, as well as preventative, pre-emptive programming, are what deliver tangible results. That is exactly where we intend to continue our focus.

That is why we committed new funding in 2013 for the Family Violence Prevention Program, which supports shelters for women, children and families living on-reserve. These are important for their safety and well-being in family violence crisis situations.

And this year, in Economic Action Plan 2014, we committed an additional $25 million over five years to continue our efforts to directly address the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. We also committed more than $8 million over five years towards supporting a national DNA-based missing person's index.

We have also passed more than 30 criminal justice and public safety initiatives, including tougher sentences for murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping, and mandatory prison sentences for the most serious crimes. In addition, last year we passed historic legislation that gave Aboriginal women living on First Nations reserves the same matrimonial rights as all Canadians, including access to emergency protection orders in violent situations.

We will continue to work to bolster Canada's image as a country where those who break the law are punished for their actions; where penalties match the severity of crimes committed; and where victims' voices are heard and respected."

Follow Department of Justice Canada on Twitter (@JusticeCanadaEn), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

Paloma Aguilar
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice

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