Canadian gov directs $1.8M to legal support for Nunavut’s women and children

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The law society of Nunavut’s CEO Nalini Vaddapalli, says in addition to the harassment workshops the law society will run legal clinics — a first for the organization. (Travis Burke/CBC)
The federal government gave three projects in Nunavut $1.8 million to educate residents on the legal protections that exist for women and children.

It’s part of $50 million first announced in the 2018 federal budget to combat sexual harassment.

Canada’s Minister of Justice David Lametti announced the organizations chosen for the funds Monday in Iqaluit.

The Law Society of Nunavut applied for funding for two projects — one will get $843,000 over five years to bring legal advice to Nunavut’s communities.

With the funding, the society will be able to visit 10 Nunavut communities in early 2020 to run workshops offering legal support to harassment victims of all kinds, including workplace and sexual harassment.

The law society’s CEO Nalini Vaddapalli, said that in addition to the harassment workshops the law society will run legal clinics — a first for the organization.

“[Nunavummiut] will be able to meet with lawyers at no cost. And get the support that they need, which is groundbreaking. We’ve never been able to do pro bono legal services through the law society with our different partners so I think that’s really important,” Vaddapalli said.

Many Nunavut communities do not have lawyers, so Vaddapalli says it’s important to pair the information with a legal clinic, so people can process the information and know they can ask the law society for help.

The society has been working on its Access to Legal Knowledge initiative since 2011, under that initiative it has launched an Inuktitut-language hotline Nunavummiut can call for advice.

Canada’s Minister of Justice David Lametti announced the organizations chosen for the funds Monday in Iqaluit. (Travis Burke/CBC)

The law society will also get $111,000 over two years to help fund its Access to Justice for Family Violence program.

The program aims to better understand how the legal system can help women in Nunavut coping with family violence and improve women’s access to the legal information they need.

Part of the project will be developing an awareness campaign to help Nunavummiut recognize family violence and know who to reach out to.

Support for child victims

The largest chunk of the $1.8 million — $843,000 — is going toward the creation of the Umingmak Child and Youth Support Centre.

The centre is a project led by the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation. It is expected to open Sept. 1 and provide a culturally-relevant space for children to get help.

It plans to offer services in both English and Inuktitut and coordinate support between all parties involved, including police, doctors and counsellors.

It’s funding will roll out over five years.

Lametti said the government has been funding similar projects across the country, giving child victims of sexual assault access to comprehensive care in a safe place.

“It’s a model that works and we are really pleased to be able to support that,” Lametti said.

Written by Sara Frizzell, based on reporting by Jackie McKay

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: A Canadian first: Federal court issues decision in Indigenous Cree and Dene languages, CBC News

Finland: Recruiter in Finland accused of discriminating against Russian-Finnish dual citizen freed by court, Yle News

United States: Could Alaska’s rural Indigenous communities fight violence with broader law enforcement powers?, Alaska Public Media

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