RCMP and Inuit women’s organization sign working agreement

“Working collaboratively, we’re hoping that the trust and those relationships will be strengthened,” says Supt. Kim Taplin

The RCMP and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada have signed a working agreement that commits to reducing violence against Inuit women and children. (File photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Getting a family-violence coordinator in Nunavut and developing cultural-competency training for police officers are on the list of things the RCMP and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada agreed to work on together when they committed to improving the safety of Inuit women and children in Inuit Nunangat this week.

About a year ago, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada released a report, calling for a “fundamental shift” in policing to address violence against Inuit women, who are disproportionately victimized across Canada.

The Pinasuqatigiinniq Agreement, signed on Tuesday, commits the national Inuit women’s organization, RCMP headquarters and commanding officers in Inuit communities to work together to address the report’s 15 recommendations.

Pinasuqatigiinniq means “working together collaboratively.”

“We’ve worked together in the past, but this really solidifies the commitment towards the common priorities,” said Supt. Kim Taplin with the RCMP’s Indigenous Policing Services.

The 2020 report, Addressing Gendered Violence Against Inuit Women, found the risk of a woman being sexually assaulted in Nunavut is 12 times higher than the Canadian average.

Women in Nunavut are the victims of violent crime at a rate 13 times higher than for woman in Canada as a whole, Pauktuutit President Rebecca Kudloo said in a news release.

Kudloo said that women experiencing domestic violence often feel further victimized when they come into contact with the justice system, and the report says discrimination Inuit women face when dealing with police has resulted in mistrust and a reluctance to call police for help.

Taplin said, “the trust was broken, or at least tarnished, over many, many years and it’s not going to happen overnight.”

“Working collaboratively, we’re hoping that the trust and those relationships will be strengthened.”

One of the priorities in the agreement’s work plan is to consult with Indigenous communities, she said.

She mentioned Iqaluit’s ongoing body-worn camera pilot project as an example. The news release states the RCMP will consult with Inuit women on the project.

Another priority in the plan is to develop cultural awareness training for all RCMP staff, not just for police officers, said Taplin.

“Understanding perspectives of Indigenous people is first step in changing the behaviours and attitudes of some of our members.”

“We can all benefit from more education and more awareness of the people in the communities that we police,” she said.

More than 6,000 employees have taken a foundational cultural awareness and humility course that has been mandatory for all employees since the fall, said Taplin.

She said it’s too early to see direct outcomes from this training, but more courses will be developed through the agreement with Pauktuutit.

The 2020 report made 15 recommendations to change how policing is done in Inuit communities, including having a female officer present when gathering statements, providing culturally competent and trauma informed policing, and training on gender-based violence.

Forty-five Inuit women and 40 service providers across the four Inuit regions in Canada were interviewed for the report, which found systemic racialized policing is still happening in encounters between Inuit and police officers.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Tulugaq on

    This is a step in the right direction but a very small step, a plaster over a gaping wound. We’ve known for decades that the justice system failed Indigenous people. The report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (RCAP) in 1996, over 30 years ago, clearly indicated that the mainstream court system instead of doing its job was compounding the problems and Indigenous legal systems, by and for Indigenous people, were the only solution if we wanted to address the problem.

    Fast forward 35 years and nothing has really changed, we do things the same way we were at the time, with more judges and more lawyers, and violent crime rates are still much higher in Nunavut than anywhere else in the country. The overrepresentation of Indigenous inmates in Canadian prisons has even worsen since then even though governments were trying to address this very issue. Inuit women bear the brunt of this violence and the best the colonial state is able to do is provide training to its members and share information with Pauktuutit.

    What should have been done? Inuit should be in the driver’s seat and design their own legal system and apply it. They should not only be consulted but they should be in charge. Canada is still a colonial state and decolonizing will take more than wishful thinking, it will need to recognized Indigenous self determination.

    • Posted by Thomas More on

      Tulugak, the only solution I can think of to your problem is a Nunavut separatist movement. Please consider starting a movement.

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  2. Posted by Nunavutmiut on

    Tulugaq,

    What would your solutions be towards a wife beater, how bout a child molester, a person who’s committed a violent crime or someone who’s committed murder? I will agree that Canada’s justice system isn’t perfect, but at least they deal with such crimes like I’ve listed.

    You need to remember that ever person who’s been put in jail has had their day in court. A lot of the emphasis goes towards the evidence police collected and for the crown to prove that a person is indeed guilty. There is almost no effort on the accuse. If anything, all the accuse has to say is they are the victim of colonialism, police brutality, bad child up bringing, or their constitutional rights were violated and they get off free. What about the victims of their crimes, everyone seems to forget about them. Did you know that there’s only 3 people in Nunavut who offer victim services? Something not right with that.

    • Posted by Nunavummiutaq on

      Do you realize that the Inuit way of dealing with conflict in the family was to address it immediately. If it continued, a person would get kicked out, and have to survive on their own. They would mostly die off quickly.
      Now, the slow justice system drags out over months/years. Man assaults woman, woman choses to forgive. Court puts no contact order in place and disrupts family for months/years. Old way of doing things worked better.

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      • Posted by Nunavutmiut on

        How do you kick someone out who’s the aggressor? They are already committing violent crimes and victimizing the people they live with. That’s the whole reason why they are making safe shelters, because these victims don’t have a place to go, and people are too afraid to stand up to these criminals. Kinda hard to get family to deal with things when the family is afraid

  3. Posted by concern man on

    This conflict will go on with one side sexists to serve for family values wannabe western approach. But it’s not family value to separate and have hatred develop for no help for her. This is so stupid for girls and women who just make up words. Stop this victim expert and start align with family. don’t fight for western values to separate and fight forever.

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