Provincial Government Committed to National Action Plan to Address Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls
June 3, 2020
The Provincial Government is engaged in discussions with the Federal Government, Provinces, Territories, and Indigenous Governments and Organizations on developing a national action plan to address systemic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Today marks one year since the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The report, entitled Reclaiming Power and Place, is comprised of evidence gathered from over 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and knowledge keepers. It also delivered 231 Calls for Justice. The recommendations called on governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians to address the tragic levels of violence directed at Indigenous people of all gender and sexual minorities.
In the time leading up to the National Inquiry and while it was under way, the Provincial Government fully supported the knowledge gathering aspects of hearings and testimonials. Prior to the start of the National Inquiry, the province initiated consultations with Indigenous Governments, Organizations and people to gather views on issues and concerns for consideration by commissioners.
A review of the Calls for Justice which apply to Newfoundland and Labrador has been undertaken by the Provincial Government and the information which is being collected is being used to inform the discussions with the Federal Government and other jurisdictions in Canada.
The province believes there are many ways to end violence, including: increasing awareness, education and training, investing in leadership development, and capacity building.
The Provincial Government administers a wide range of services, programs and engagements which align with the Calls for Justice contained in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Some of these initiatives are included in the backgrounder below.
“As we continue critical discussions on the principles of a National Action Plan to Address Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, it is important to understand that this is a wide-ranging and comprehensive approach that demands involvement from all sectors of society and all governments. Governments and Indigenous people will forge the path ahead on how we respond and prevent violence. This will require meaningful, respectful, and culturally‐appropriate engagement with Indigenous leaders.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
What We Heard: National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Office of the Premier
Provincial Services, Programs and Engagements which align with the Calls for Justice Contained in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- The independent National Inquiry, established by the Federal Government in 2016, was under way from September 2016 to June 2019.
- From March 7-8, 2018, the National Inquiry conducted community hearings in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, during which time the National Inquiry heard from individuals from across the province who shared information about their missing or murdered loved ones.
- From October 15-18, 2018, the National Inquiry conducted Knowledge Keeper, Expert and Institutional Hearings in St. John’s, during which time approximately 14 individuals shared information about their work or research.
- Within the Final Report, the Calls for Justice 1.1 to 5.25 are specifically directed to all levels of government, with government departments and agencies being implicated throughout the remaining Calls.
- The Indigenous Violence Prevention Grants Program, managed by the Office for the Status of Women, supports Indigenous Governments and Organizations in the province in their efforts to prevent violence against Indigenous women and children, and to engage Indigenous men and boys in the prevention of violence.
- A Provincial Indigenous Women’s Steering Committee advises the Provincial Government on social, economic and violence-related issues impacting Indigenous women.
- The Provincial Indigenous Women’s Gathering, which has taken place annually since 2006, brings together Indigenous women from all areas of the province to connect, share experiences, and plan the necessary steps to aid in the improvement of the quality of life of Indigenous women in their communities.
- The Provincial Government convened the province’s first Indigenous Leaders Roundtable in 2017 to discuss and advance goals shared with Indigenous communities.
- Through a partnership with the Qalipu First Nation, eagle feathers were presented to the Provincial Court as another option for taking an affirmation or oath, to help create a more inclusive and accessible justice system that is sensitive to Indigenous cultures.
- Two seats in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law program are assigned to Indigenous students from Newfoundland and Labrador to help foster a more representative justice system.
- Cultural competency and trauma-informed training is offered to justice-sector employees to educate and inform staff of Indigenous cultures and traditions to improve the interactions and experiences of Indigenous people within the justice system.
- Newfoundland and Labrador is increasing its use of restorative justice a practice with roots in Indigenous cultures. Current initiatives that support the principles of restorative justice include the Adult Diversion Program, Drug Treatment Court, and the Family Violence Intervention Court.