“(…)Single-focused and mainstream interventions will not be effective in addressing the alarmingly high rates of violence in Inuit communities.,” says a new report issued this week. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

Inadequate shelter services in Arctic Canada imprison Inuit women in cycle of violence: study


Eye on the Arctic brings you stories and newsmakers from around the North

The lack of women’s shelters, transition lodging and second-stage housing services is keeping Inuit women trapped in an ongoing cycle of violence, says a report from Canada’s national Inuit women’s organization Pauktuutit.

“With the housing crisis in Inuit Nunangat and the increasing rates of violence, one of the important issues that emerged from the research was the lack of second-stage housing available in Inuit communities,” said the report. (Inuit Nunangat is a term used to refer to Canada’s four Inuit regions: The Inuvialuit Settlement Region in Canada’s Northwest Territories; Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut; Nunavik in northern Quebec; and Nunatsiavut, in the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.)

The majority of Canada’s 51 Inuit communities are isolated from Canada’s road network and can only be reached by airplane. The majority have few services.  Legal tools used in the South like restraining orders are also useless in small Arctic communities, usually numbering only a few hundred people.

The report says the 15 shelters in operation in the Arctic are simply not enough to respond to the great need of the Inuit population which numbers 65,000.

“For Inuit women who live in more remote communities without shelters, accessing this form of support remains an even greater challenge. The few available shelters in the larger communities may be operating at full capacity and, even when spaces are available travel between communities requires significant time and financial resources.”

Violence against Inuit Women in Canada
  • Inuit women experience rates of violence 14 times higher than Canadian average
  • Violence is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in Inuit women
  • Canada’s northern territories have the highest rates of police-reported violence against women
  • In Nunavut territory, the rate of violent crime experienced by women is nearly 13 times higher than the Canadian average

Sources: Study of Gender-based Violence and Shelter Service Needs across Inuit Nunangat, Statistics Canada

The report “Study of Gender-based Violence and Shelter Service Needs across Inuit Nunangat”  makes several recommendations for improving shelter services in the North including calls for government to ensure stable ongoing funding of shelters in the Arctic on par with that provided for shelters on First Nations reserves through the federal government’s Family Violence Prevention Plan (FVPP).

Inuit do not live on reserves and are currently not eligible for the financing.

The study also calls for more crisis shelters that can take in women and children immediately,  as well as the creation of second-stage housing for domestic violence victims that require long-term support and safe lodging.

The report also recommends the creation of Inuit-specific emergency shelters and transitional housing in urban centres in southern Canada.

Data for the report was gathered from interviews and discussion circles in Inuit regions across Canada: Inuvik and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories; Cape Dorset, Clyde River and Iqaluit in the eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, Kuujjuaq in Nunavik, the Inuit region of northern Quebec, and in Nain and Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There were 164 participants in the study in all.

Direct and indirect costs associated with gender-based violence

Besides the huge emotional and social costs of violence against Inuit women, the financial costs are also enormous, the report said.

“The study findings suggest that the direct and indirect costs associated with gender-based violence across Inuit Nunangat include: medevac services; hospitalization and direct medical costs; long-term mental and physical health costs; economic costs of lost wages and productivity; and, policing and justice services,” the report said.

“While adequate data is not available to calculate the current total economic cost of violence against women and girls in Inuit Nunangat, the data that is available suggest that this figure is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year.”

The report also highlighted the roots of violence against Inuit women including overcrowded  housing, colonialism, substance abuse and the normalization of violence in Arctic communities.

In all, the report makes 14 recommendations including the need to better train non-Inuit justice, social services, and health workers on Inuit culture and reality before they come up to work in the North.

The report, dated March 2019, was released June 3, the same day as the final report from Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Report on violence against Indigenous women a ‘wake-up call’ for Canada, says Pauktuutit president, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Swedish-speaking Finnish women launch their own #metoo campaign, Yle News

Sweden: Report sheds light on Swedish minority’s historic mistreatment, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska reckons with missing data on murdered Indigenous women, Alaska Public Media


Categories: Indigenous
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.