February 15, 2023
On February 10, 2023, APTN published an article detailing information from a report prepared by the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission that addressed allegations that “a number of” RCMP officers sexually abused teenage First Nations girls in Prince George, BC from 2000 to 2004, and that RCMP officers failed to investigate these allegations, even losing crucial video evidence in the process.
This is unacceptable. Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people deserve safety and dignity, especially from those with professional and legal responsibilities for public safety and law enforcement.
These allegations are part of a dangerous pattern where law enforcement officers and agencies have directly harmed Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people. Gender-based exploitation, violence, and discrimination is rampant in the RCMP and local police forces. Racism, breach of trust, and inherent power imbalances are major reasons why racialized victims of gender-based violence are hesitant to come forward and seek justice.
In addition, multiple reports have condemned the RCMP for their failure to prevent and investigate violence against women. It is horrendous that the very forces that are responsible for protecting civilians not only perpetuate the ongoing violence that Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people face daily, but engage in cover-up to prevent justice.
As APTN notes, it is also not a coincidence that even the Commission’s report does not include the “exploitation, trauma and experiences” of the 13- or 14-year-old First Nations girls who were victims of the alleged abuses. These Indigenous girls and their families deserve justice, and the truths and lived expertise of families and survivors must be a part of the justice process.
Ultimately, transformative change cannot happen until the 231 Calls for Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have been fulfilled.
In our contribution to the National Action Plan on MMIWG2S+, the NFSC identified Calls for Justice that we believe require immediate action under four rights areas: Culture, Health and Wellness, Human Security, and Justice. Many of the Calls for Justice that fall under this final umbrella are the actions necessary for transformative change in the justice and policing systems:
- Call for Justice 5.7 calls for the establishment of robust and well-funded Indigenous civilian oversight bodies (that include Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people) which can oversee investigations related to police negligence or misconduct
- Call for Justice 9.2 calls on members of the justice system and police services to build respectful working relationships with Indigenous peoples, including reviewing current policies and procedures to eliminate racism and bias, and implementing culturally appropriate and trauma-informed practices when dealing with families and survivors
- Call for Justice 9.6 calls for the establishment of an independent, special investigation unit that addresses incidents like the failures to investigate, police misconduct, and discrimination and mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples within their police service.
- Call for Justice 18.14 calls upon all police services to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of 2SLGBTQQIA people in the sex industry.
The urgent and immediate implementation of the National Action Plan and 231 Calls for Justice by all governments, institutions, and organizations, including law enforcement are not an option — they are a necessary step towards ending the genocide of our women, girls and gender-diverse people.
We understand that this subject matter is difficult for many people in our community. If you require immediate support, please contact the national, independent toll free 24/7 support line at 1-844-413-6649 to speak to a counsellor. The service is available in English, French, Cree, Anishnaabemowin (Ojibway), and Inuktitut.
About the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC)
The NFSC comprises First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women from diverse backgrounds who use their lived expertise to advocate for centring the voices of families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, survivors of gender-based violence, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and made significant contributions to the 2021 National Action Plan.
For more information and to book interviews, please contact: email@example.com