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RCMP release report on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2014

Release: In late 2013, the Commissioner of the RCMP initiated an RCMP-led study of reported incidents of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across all police jurisdictions in Canada.

This report summarizes that effort and will guide Canadian Police operational decision-making on a solid foundation. It will mean more targeted crime prevention, better community engagement and enhanced accountability for criminal investigations. It will also assist operational planning from the detachment to national level. In sum, it reveals the following:

  • Police-recorded incidents of Aboriginal female homicides and unresolved missing Aboriginal females in this review total 1,181 – 164 missing and 1,017 homicide victims.
  • There are 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal females: 105 missing for more than 30 days as of November 4, 2013, whose cause of disappearance was categorized at the time as "unknown" or "foul play suspected" and 120 unsolved homicides between 1980 and 2012.
  • The total indicates that Aboriginal women are over-represented among Canada's murdered and missing women.
  • There are similarities across all female homicides. Most homicides were committed by men and most of the perpetrators knew their victims — whether as an acquaintance or a spouse.
  • The majority of all female homicides are solved (close to 90%) and there is little difference in solve rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal victims.

This report concludes that the total number of murdered and missing Aboriginal females exceeds previous public estimates. This total significantly contributes to the RCMP's understanding of this challenge, but it represents only a first step.

It is the RCMP's intent to work with the originating
agencies responsible for the data herein to release as much of it as possible to stakeholders. Already, the data on missing Aboriginal women has been shared with the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR), which will be liaising with policing partners to publish additional cases on the Canada's Missing website. Ultimately, the goal is to make information more widely available after appropriate vetting. While this matter is without question a policing concern, it is also a much broader societal challenge.

The collation of this data was completed by the RCMP and the assessments and conclusions herein are those of the RCMP alone. The report would not have been possible without the support and contribution of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada.

As with any effort of such magnitude, this report needs to be caveated with a certain amount of error and imprecision. This is for a number of reasons: the period of time over which data was collected was extensive; collection by investigators means data is susceptible to human error and interpretation; inconsistency of collection of variables over the review period and across multiple data sources; and, finally,
definitional challenges.

The numbers that follow are the best available data to which the RCMP had access to at the time the information was collected. They will change as police understanding of cases evolve, but as it stands, this is the most comprehensive data that has ever been assembled by the Canadian policing community on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

RCMP release: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/mmaw-faapd-eng.htm

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