Royal Canadian Mounted Police
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Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Persons

Background

The RCMP investigates all cases of missing and murdered persons, within our jurisdiction, regardless of sex, ethnicity, background or lifestyle. Accordingly, resources and investigational tools are assigned soley 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), 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.

What we are doing

The RCMP has established the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) within the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (CPCMEC). The NCMPUR incorporates the existing National Missing Children Operations (NMCO).

Specifically:

  • NCMPUR is creating the first national database for missing persons and unidentified remains to provide police, medical examiners and chief coroners with more comprehensive information on these cases across jurisdictions.
  • NCMPUR has employed an experienced Aboriginal police officer linked to the RCMP’s National Aboriginal Policing Services (NAPS) to ensure a focus on the specific issue of missing Aboriginal persons;
  • The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) has made several enhancements to help capture pertinent data on missing persons and unidentified remains cases that can be shared across jurisdictions.  These include extended description fields, skeletal inventory, biological and cultural affinity;
  • NCMPUR is creating a national public website scheduled to be launched in 2012.  The website will contain information on missing persons and unidentified remains cases. The public will have the opportunity to provide tips on cases of missing persons and unidentified remains through this website; and
  • NCMPUR is developing training for investigators.  This training will include online training modules as well as advanced investigative training at the Canadian Police College (CPC).

Missing Women Task Forces

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 is also leading task forces across the country which are dedicated to actively reviewing files of missing women, including Aboriginal women.

  • The RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service have established Project Devote, a two-pronged approach to address unsolved historical homicides and missing person cases, where foul play is suspected, involving exploited and at risk persons.
  • In 2006, the RCMP established Project E-PANA with a dedicated team of investigators who continue to review a number of files involving missing and murdered women in the North District and Central Region of British Columbia (which includes Highway 16 i.e., the Highway of Tears between Prince Rupert and Prince George, BC).
  • In 2003, the RCMP established Project KARE with the Edmonton Police Service to examine the deaths of several High Risk Missing Persons found in the surrounding rural areas of the City of Edmonton.
  • In 2001, the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department established
    Project Even-Handed
    , which is the investigation of 68 missing/murdered women from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and surrounding areas. Thirty-three have been connected to Robert Pickton. Project Evenhanded continues its commitment to the investigation of the cases of the remaining missing/murdered women to this day and will continue until all possible avenues of investigation have been exhausted.

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.

Native Women's Association of Canada

Q.1. How is the RCMP working with the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) on cases of missing/murdered Aboriginal Women?

A.1. Through a collaborative partnership with NWAC, the RCMP helped develop a Community Education Tool Kit called Navigating the Missing Persons Process, which can be used at the community level by friends and family members of people who have gone missing. This guide is a valuable resource that the RCMP promotes to its members and the communities they serve.

Q.2. Does the RCMP use the information from the NWAC database?

A.2. The RCMP relies on police databases as our primary source of information. We do however welcome any information that could assist us in an investigation; and we will continue to work with NWAC to keep Aboriginal communities healthy and safe.