Inuit women’s organization praises recent decision from Nunavut justice of the peace

“It takes an enormous amount of courage for Inuit women to report physical and sexual abuse”

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada president Rebecca Kudloo (left) praised a recent decision from Nunavut justice of the peace Joseph Murdoch-Flowers. Kudloo is pictured here at Pauktuutit’s annual general meeting in 2014. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

The national organization representing Inuit women is praising a recently released decision from a Nunavut justice of the peace.

The decision from justice of the peace Joseph Murdoch-Flowers, released on Feb. 5, said the court will not convict a woman for breaching her bail condition because she called the police while experiencing violence in her home.

“Inuit women should never feel like they must hesitate to call the police for assistance in Nunavut,” Murdoch-Flowers wrote in his decision.

In a news release, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada said the decision is “very well received” by the organization.

“Pauktuutit acknowledges that it takes an enormous amount of courage for Inuit women to report physical and sexual abuse to policing services, particularly when there is a lack of infrastructure to provide timely access to safety and when the message received is, as the judge put it, “call us at your peril,'” the release said.

“The cases referenced by Justice of the Peace Joseph Murdoch-Flowers once again highlight the urgent need for a full commitment from the federal government to implement the MMIWG Calls to Justice. We must work together to implement Inuit-led solutions in programs, services and legislation so that Inuit women and our children can finally live a life free of intergenerational trauma,” Pauktuutit president Rebecca Kudloo said in the release.

Pauktuutit also released a report in January that called for a fundamental shift in how policing is carried out in Inuit Nunangat.

Pauktuutit said its full policing report, including calls to address the critical need for access to safety for Inuit women and children, will be released at its annual general meeting, held at the end of February.

The report in brief, with its 14 recommendations, is available on Pauktuutit’s website.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Curious on

    What if she was under bail conditions for violent offences committed while she under the influence of alcohol?

  2. Posted by RCMP have room to improve on

    Several years ago a young woman died in Iqaluit during the Christmas season.
    I saw something that might have been a clue related to what had happened.
    I called the RCMP and left a message, including my name and phone number.
    No one ever called me back.
    The death was deemed “natural causes”.
    Maybe it was, maybe it was not.

  3. Posted by Tulugaq on

    Breaching a bail condition is a technical offence that is often used to criminalize people who, otherwise, would not be charged or in order to increase the number of charges laid so that the criminal record of the person would look worse than it really is. As well, it may cause the person to be jailed pre-trial while the rule in Canada is not to be punished before being found guilty by a court of law..

    When a woman calls the police because she fears for her safety, is it in the public interest to charge her for a breach because she drank? In my view, this is where the Crown failed in its public interest test. The police and Crown do not have a duty to charge everyone when a crime is alleged to have been committed. The first part of the test is to determine whether there is enough evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction. The second part of the test is whether the prosecution is in the public interest. I suggest that obviously it is not in the public interest to charge for a breach of conditions a woman who called the police for assistance for fear to her safety. It’s certainly not in the public interest to deter people who are in danger for calling the police when they need assistance, that’s just good old common sense.

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