NWAC shocked with recent RCMP comments on CBC

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NWAC shocked with recent RCMP comments on CBC
Ottawa, ON (February 17, 2013)  –  In a response to a posting on the CBC News website stating that the, “The RCMP questions claim of 600 missing aboriginal women”, Michèle Audette, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) states that, “it is incredible that the RCMP is publicly doubting the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that has been documented in the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Database! The high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that has been documented was based on accurate secondary source information that in many instances came directly from police reports that had further been corroborated by NWAC researchers with various police agencies.
 
NWAC collected and developed the Database of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and girls between 2005 and 2010 through the Sisters In Spirit initiative, which was based on cases that were in the public domain. “Anyone can collect this information, it is there, but what is unique is that NWAC went beyond this general collection and spoke directly with many families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls and was able to augment the data to better determine what the needs and gaps are in terms of service delivery, programming, and policy services. I invite you to educate yourself, your family, friends and community, and visit the NWAC website and see the research for yourself,” said NWAC President Audette. Research data collected through the Sisters In Spirit project are available on the NWAC website and can be found on this webpage: http://www.nwac.ca/programs/sis-research.
 
NWAC acknowledges that the number often cited by the research and scope of the Sisters In Spirit project is limited; the NWAC believes that the real number is much higher, potentially in the thousands. Many historical cases are unreported or are reported without ethnicity by policing agencies and the RCMP. NWAC continues to receive requests from families and communities searching for a loved one or missing community members. “There are times when the name search turns up a blank, this tells us that the NWAC Database is not up to date and has not captured all incidents. These are indicators that the number is much higher and we have NOT recorded all cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls,”  exclaimed NWAC President Audette. “I have to add that many of our friends, those grassroots groups that have also been collecting this data often state that the NWAC researched numbers are not correct, and that there continues to be an ongoing issue in the matter of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls that no one is officially keeping track of, which is very disconcerting to us.”
“I am not surprised that the RCMP does not know the real numbers of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls since they don’t report ethnicity, but I am shocked that they would publically admit that they don’t know what the real numbers are, it is a shame that the RCMP and this government are not doing more to rectify the situation”, said NWAC President Michèle Audette.
 
As stated in the recent Human Rights Watch report, Aboriginal women and girls are fearful of reporting crimes committed against them by police officers. “It is interesting in this last week that much information regarding the RCMP as an institution, has been made public with reported cases of misconduct, female members from their own ranks coming forth to disclose the widespread abuse of sexism and abuse of power within the RCMP, and now a member accused of horrific child sexual abuse and confinement in Ottawa. Just days ago, the RCMP civilian watch dog made very serious statements regarding the culture of “bullying” as the norm within the organization.” stated NWAC President Michèle Audette.
 
“It appears now that the RCMP has chosen aggressive bullying tactics to re-direct public attention away from its own internal issues. This is another justification for NWAC’s call for a long-overdue national public inquiry that will, once and for all, look at the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women girls including the attitude of the police forces that should be there to protect them and not discredit the organizations that are trying to shed light on this matter,” said President Audette.
 
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) works to advance the well-being of Aboriginal women and girls, as well as their families and communities through activism, policy analysis and advocacy. Aboriginal women continue to experience discrimination on multiple grounds and in various complex forms and from various sources, including from individuals, businesses, and governments.
NWAC was incorporated in 1974 and is one of the five officially recognized National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) whose purpose is to represent and speak, at the national level, on behalf of Aboriginal women in Canada.
 
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For additional information please contact:
Claudette Dumont-Smith
NWAC Executive Director
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 223
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