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Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

Background

The RCMP investigates all cases of reported missing and murdered persons , within our jurisdiction, regardless of sex, ethnicity, background or lifestyle. Accordingly, resources and investigational tools are assigned by the circumstances of each case.

There is a need, however, to address the fact that Aboriginal women face considerably higher risks of violence and homicide. According to the 2009 Juristat (Statistics Canada) (PDF), Aboriginal women are three times more likely to experience violent victimization than non-Aboriginal women. In addition, they are significantly over-represented as victims of homicide.

The RCMP is working with its policing partners to directly address the issue of missing and murdered persons, including Aboriginal women.

Investigations

  • The RCMP is leading task forces across the country dedicated to actively reviewing files of missing women, including Aboriginal women. Project DEVOTE in Winnipeg, Project E-PANA in Northern and Central British Columbia and Project EVEN-HANDED in Vancouver are great examples of RCMP-led multi-agency taskforces diligently investigating cases of homicides and missing persons in Canada.
  • These task forces, while spread across the country, work collaboratively to address this important issue, and are also developing "best practices" relating to information sharing, file management, file coordination and disclosure that can be shared with other investigative units or implemented in similar initiatives across the country.
  • By dedicating personnel and resources to investigate and analyze files of missing and murdered women, the RCMP is building best practices that are of benefit to all law enforcement investigating such cases. As a result of the RCMP's work, several cases have been resolved or advanced, providing closure for the families of victims. These task forces have been successful in advancing investigations and solving a number of cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
  • In 2011, the RCMP established the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR). The NCMPUR provides specialized police services to law enforcement, medical examiners and chief coroners across Canada conducting missing children, missing persons and unidentified remains investigations. The Centre has an experienced Aboriginal police officer to ensure a focus on the specific issue of missing Aboriginal persons. Canada's Missing is Canada's national public website containing information on missing children, missing persons, and unidentified remains cases. The website provides the public with the opportunity to members of the public to provide tips on specific missing persons and unidentified remains cases.

Partners

The RCMP works in collaboration with a number of partners to address the health and safety of Aboriginal women, including other law enforcement agencies, provincial and territorial governments, as well as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal agencies, and the public.

  • The RCMP works in partnership with the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) jointly addressing ways to reduce incidents of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. This collaborative partnership has led to the development of community education tool kit, entitled "Navigating the Missing Persons Process," which can be found in NWAC's Community Resource Guide on their website.
  • The RCMP and NWAC have also partnered on a poster campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of hitchhiking. This initiative is aimed at the prevention of incidents of missing and potentially murdered Aboriginal women and girls.