Missing, murdered women inquiry urges review of justice system policies

The report is being released on Monday, but several media outlets have received leaked copies

A paper bag used to collect the tears of those testifying, to then be burned in a sacred fire, is seen at the final day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday April 8, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

The final report of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is calling for broad and widespread changes to the way the justice system handles cases, including standardized response times, better communication with family members and strict protocols to ensure investigations are thorough and complete.

The report is scheduled for release Monday, but a leaked copy was obtained by The Canadian Press, as well as other media outlets. It’s the result of a years-long inquiry into the systemic causes of violence against thousands of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and includes — like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools before it — a lengthy list of recommendations to address them.

Canadian society has shown an “appalling apathy” towards addressing the issue, say the inquiry’s commissioners, who reach the explosive conclusion ”that this amounts to genocide.”

The report urges all actors in the justice system, including police services, to build respectful working relationships with Indigenous Peoples by “knowing, understanding, and respecting the people they are serving.”

Actions should include reviewing and revising all policies, practices, and procedures to ensure service delivery that is culturally appropriate and reflects no bias or racism toward Indigenous Peoples, including victims and survivors of violence, says the report.

During the course of the inquiry, it notes, policing representatives acknowledged the “historic and ongoing harms” that continue to affect First Nations, Metis and Inuit families, as well as the need to make changes to how non-Indigenous and Indigenous police work to protect safety.

The report also concludes that colonial violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people has become embedded into everyday life, resulting in many Indigenous people becoming normalized to violence.

READ MORE: Missing and murdered Indigenous women’s inquiry wages court fight for RCMP files

The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett declined to comment on the contents of the report until after Monday’s ceremony.

“The commission will publicly present its findings and recommendations on June 3rd, and we very much look forward to that,” Bennett’s office said in a statement. “Out of respect for the independent national inquiry and the families, we won’t comment on the details of the final report before then.”

Families, however, are finally getting the answers they have been looking for after decades of demanding a national inquiry, the statement noted.

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Criminal charges laid against Trail man arrested in Castlegar

Clayton Clarke was released from custody on Wednesday.

New recycling initiatives launch at Return-It Depot in Castlegar

Staff said initiatives will help to recycle more items

Shots fired at a West Trail home

Police report that the victim, a 37-year old Trail man, was not injured

Archive and research project at Doukhobor Discovery Centre coming to fruition

Up to 2,000 items will be able to be archived at facility when project is finished

Study suggests 8 times more people in B.C. infected with virus than confirmed

The study looked at anonymous blood samples collected for reasons unrelated to COVID-19

‘We’re not busting ghosts’: Northern B.C. paranormal investigators check out bistro

Paranormal North Coast British Columbia recently checked out PF Bistro at City Centre Mall.

Russian hackers seeking to steal COVID-19 vaccine data: intel agencies

It is believed APT29, also known as ‘the Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’ was responsible

Twitter racing to unravel mystery cyberattack

Some of the world’s most prominent names had their Twitter accounts post invitations for an apparent Bitcoin scam

B.C. announces funding to support post-secondary students with disabilities

The province is investing $275,000 in the new BCcampus website

Travelling ladybugs bring smiles to Kootenay residents

Did you know, a group of ladybugs is called a loveliness?

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Most Read