Inuit Women and the Nunavut Justice System

Appendix 2: Overview of Issues and Concerns of Inuit Women

This Appendix presents excerpts of materials listed in Appendix 1 and relied upon to prepare this report. The excerpts identify or refer to issues or concerns of or associated with Inuit women with the three components of the Nunavut administration of justice examined in this report. For ease of review, the excerpts from each document are categorized under the relevant component — court structure, Justices of the Peace, or community-based justice.

Pautuutit. Inuit Women and the Administration of Justice, Phase 1: Project Report, 1993

(a) Court Structure

Decisions of Court have failed to reflect any understanding of the impact of sexual assaults and abuses upon women and children who are victims. Women who are victims have little confidence in the system’s ability to demonstrate to the community that women are a valued part of the community and violent acts against them will not be allowed.

However, it is commendable that the judiciary in NWT have created more opportunities for community members to participate in the system. Moreover, NWT judges are more open to incorporating Inuit culture into the judicial process and the content of decisions (e.g., circle, elders groups, community diversion). However, the fact remains that judges, when consulting with community, have to consult more widely, and incorporate a wider range of views.

(b) Community-based Justice Initiatives

Community-based justice initiatives have the potential to permit meaningful community participation. They reflect a commitment to responding to repeated concerns of the community, as represented in the comments of the Chair of the Inuit Justice Task Force who said people want to be more involved in how people in the justice system are treated.

However, much remains to be done to ensure equality of access, equal representation and accountability within the administration of justice. In one sentencing circle, it was observed:

  • People involved in circle didn’t know why judge was holding the circle.
  • No explanation was provided to community about its goals or origin of circle.
  • Nothing said about how it relates to Inuit customs.
  • The judge didn’t explain what participants to circle could do “to help” the accused.
  • The timing of circle precluded a lot of community participation.
  • The size of the room limited number of people who could observe.
  • No plan was prepared regarding how to set up the actual circle.
  • Little thought was given to how circle could be structured and where specific participants would sit.
  • Great responsibility was placed on Mayor, putting a burden on his time and resources.
  • The judge did not provide any information about the ground rules, or about what was expected of participants.
  • Very little was said about the victim.
  • Some circle members spoke of the assault as “their” – the couple’s - problem.
  • The victim never spoke about what the impact of the actions had been on her or her family.
  • No one from community indicated dislike for what offender had done..
  • The Judge suggested wife should attend the support group. What was troubling about this suggestion was that the judge overlooked his own power over the victim; consequently, that suggestion was perceived as an order.

There is great pressure not to speak out against a sentencing alternative supported by so many.

Pauktuutit. Inuit Women and the Administration of Justice, Pauktuutit, Phase II: Project Reports -Progress Report #1 (July 1, 1994 -December 31, 1994)

(a) Court Structure

Jury Trials in Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Cases

At the 1994 Pauktuutit AGM, the delegates called upon the justice system to not locate jury trials in the same community as the alleged sexual assault took place. The Justice Project will be undertaking an in-depth review of the use of the jury trial in sexual assault and child sexual abuse cases in Inuit communities in NT[Nunavut]. This work is in direct response both the AGM Resolution and the growing concern around the judiciary's unwillingness to order change of venues when requested by the Crown in these specific cases. (p.4)

… it is essential Pauktuutit and the women we present be prepared to negotiate and lobby for a justice system that they fully support. This requires focusing on initiatives currently being proposed by both levels of government that will impact on the new territories' justice systems such as the devolution of the prosecutorial function; community-based justice and its impact on women and children who are victims of violence; and the transfer of corrections to community-based operations.(p.5)

On December 9, 10, and 11[,1994], an NWT-wide victims advocacy and services workshop was held as part of the Justice Project. The Victims Advocacy / Victims Services workshop was a continuation of the work completed in the first phase. In the earlier phase, Pauktuutit played an active role in commenting on the GNWT's Pilot Project on Victim Impact Statements (VIS) and calling for Government to adopt a permanent program that was not a police-based system and that was structured to meet the needs of women and children who are victims of violence. (p.5)

The President of Pauktuutit, along with members of the Pauktuutit Justice Project, met with Stephen Kakfwi and his officials to discuss the VIS Program and the GNWT's efforts to build a strategy to address violence against women and children in July 1994. At that time, the proposed permanent VIS project was presented to us. Pauktuutit was and remains very concerned that this permanent project will provide little, if any, assistance to women and children who are the victims of sexual assaults or victims of non-sexual assaults where the victims are in intimate relations, trust or dependency relationships with the abusers.

There is very little money being committed by the Government to addressing violence against women and children through the VIS program or other victim services. The permanent program lacks any formal structure and relies entirely upon volunteers within the community to assist victims in participating in the program. To date, it is unclear what the level and extent of training will be for volunteers in communities who perform these services. (Inuit Women and the Administration of Justice, Pauktuutit, Phase II: Project Reports -Progress Report #1 (July 1, 1994 -December 31, 1994 pp.5-6)

We strongly support the development of a victim services and victims advocacy infrastructure for Inuit women and children. We believe the VIS program is an initial step. To ensure women and children benefit from this program we are hoping this workshop will be the starting point for building a victims advocates and victims services workers network for the specific communities being represented in the workshop. (Inuit Women and the Administration of Justice, Pauktuutit, Phase II: Project Reports -Progress Report #1 (July 1, 1994 -December 31, 1994) (p.6)

Pauktuutit, Inuit Women and the Administration of Justice, Phase II: Project Reports -Progress Report #1 (July 1, 1994 -December 31, 1994), Appendix 3 -Presentation to the Advisory Committee on the Administration of Justice in Inuit Communities[104]

There is extensive information provided in this document on concerns and opinions of Inuit women regarding Justices of the Peace and community-based justice in Nunavik (Northern Quebec). The excerpts reflect similar concerns raised by Inuit women in Nunavut and, therefore, have been included as a useful reference for readers.

(a) Justices of the Peace (pp.34-39)

III. Referral the Justice
Question: Do you see a need to appoint a justice in your community?

Answer:

  • there is a need for local Justices, we have assumed these justices would be Justices of the Peace with more powers than they presently have in Nunavik
  • the people appointed as a Justice should be Inuit, and other well respected people in Community,
  • the criteria could serve to create barriers and systemically discriminate against unilingual Inuit from ever getting appointed- for example the need to be available and open to getting training and instruction; training is to be done by the judges and their association, if it is not done in Inuktitut, these people would not be available or able to train in English so they would not meet the criteria
Question: In your opinion, should the justice who is appointed be a resident in your community or come from another community?

Answer:

  • there should be JPs in each community, and if there is a conflict of interest or the JP does not feel comfortable taking a case in her or his own community that should be able to ask and have resources to bring a JP from another place who is willing to take the case, to do the work
  • the discretion to do a case should be left to the JP
  • the Justice should be free to consult with other Justices in other places whenever they want to
Question: Should there be more than one justice sitting in the community in the event of conflict of interest, kinship, absence due to health reasons vacations, etc.

Answer:

  • the number of Justices per community would seem to depend upon a number of factors such as the size of the community, the rate of crimes that the Justice would be dealing with and also the factors mentioned above
Question: Do you it would be preferable to have more than one justice who would sit at the same time?

Answer:

  • it may be very useful to have more than one Justice hearing a case, this is done in NWT with new JPs to train and assist them
  • the Justice should always have the option and resources available to have another Justice sit with him or her when doing the work
Question: Assuming that proper training would be provided, are there men and women in your community or outside your community would be willing to take on this responsibility?

Answer:

Training of Justices

  • on the issue of training, this is essential that all Justices have equal access to a very high level of training so they know what the Criminal Code is about, what it says and how it works,
  • in the Working Document it says the training would be the responsibility of the ministère de la justice under the supervision of the Chief Justice of the Cour du Québec, if there Justices who are unilingual Inuktitut speakers, they should get their training in Inuktitut and if there are non-Inuit Justices they should be educated and learn about Inuit ways, they should get ongoing training about Inuit ways, all JPs should get training on the dynamics of family violence and sexual assault if they are going to deal with these cases, it is essential

Selection Criteria for Justices

  • the working document suggests, as we understand it, a person who was charged and convicted of an indictable offence of the Criminal Code,
  • there are some people who never get charged because people are afraid to call police or press charges or there are some who have been charged and convicted of a summary conviction where they have abused or assaulted someone; these people would be eligible to be Justices under this criteria who may not be healed and still abuse
  • if they were recommended by the local authority, people with summary convictions for minor crimes that do not involve any social conflict should not be banned from becoming Justices, if they unknowingly broke the law or have reformed and corrected themselves they should be considered
  • the issues raised under the sections on mediation and diversion about people who can mediate or do diversion apply to an even greater extent to the selection and appointment to Justices - since the Working Document appears to see Justices as more important and more powerful than Diversion Committee or mediators and they are permanently employed to do this work
  • there should be a clear job description and job application provided to people interested in applying for this job; this application would outline the job and set some very basic criteria and standards for the job
  • at the same time the reference to a criminal charge is a permanent ban- there may be a person who has a criminal record from over ten years ago who may have changed a lot and is a very good candidate and they should be allowed to be at least considered

Screening Process for Justices

  • people in the community who would be appointed to be Justices must be thoroughly screened
  • the screening process must be confidential
  • peoples past employment history, criminal records, should be screened
  • need to talk to others who have information about a candidate
  • all candidates for Justice should be thorough screened, community and regional groups involved in social issues should be involved in the screening process
  • not sure how the process should work but it is essential to have this process
  • thought has to be given to the process because locally there may be people afraid to speak out against a person who is abusive or has other problems that are not public knowledge because that person is in a position of authority or has a lot of power
  • at a minimum there must be more detailed guidelines set out about what is required to be a Justice, making sure it does not discriminate against unilingual Inuktitut speakers and there must be a screening process developed to screen out people who are not suited to have this role

Other Issues regarding Appointment

  • some discussion required about whether an elected person could be a Justice, right now some mayors who are justices of the Peace, this might be a problem with their expanded role as proposed in the Working Document
  • need to look at the proposals of KRG which proposes through devolution that mayors take more responsibilities as Justices of the Peace and get more involved in the administration of justice
  • ordinary citizens who are not part of a Board or Committee should also be consulted about a particular individual being considered for appointment as a Justice on a confidential basis

Code of Conduct

  • the Working Document suggest people can be removed for "improper behaviour"
  • what is "improper and who decides what is improper",
  • the Justices should have to follow a Code of Conduct which are guidelines that address a variety of aspects, including lifestyle, for example, if you don't drink, do drugs, but at home neglect your kids or wife, or if you behave at home and then leave town drink, act up, have affairs with others this is not acceptable conduct and you would be removed because you went against the Code of Conduct (Pauktuutit has developed a Code of Conduct that is being considered by Inuit organizations in the NWT and the Minister of Justice in the NWT)
Question: Do you believe that the jurisdiction of a Justice should be restricted, at first, to hearing cases pertaining to band or municipal by-laws?

Answer: Yes

Question: Should the jurisdiction be restricted at first to cases where a plea of guilty will be entered, thus leaving the courts to hear disputed cases ?

Answer: this question is a bit unclear- if Justices are only doing by-law and municipal infractions these are not so complex, they could probably hear these cases and get experience doing some disputed cases

Question: Should the jurisdiction eventually be extended to all offences against federal and provincial penal statutes and Criminal Code offences that are punishable by summary conviction?

Answer: (Note: the issues raised about mediators and diversion committees dealing with offences that are identified by the Crown as summary conviction (ie. spousal assault, sexual assault, child abuse) also apply to the jurisdiction of the Justices)

  • perhaps, this depends entirely upon the training that JPs get,
  • if they don't get good training in areas such as family violence, sexual assault, must seriously consider if they are able to deal with these cases
  • if they are dealing with these cases, then consider whether they can be done by local Justice or by some Justice from other region, also whether more than one Justice should hear the case
Question: Should the placement of a young offender in a youth center or a foster family eventually be brought under the jurisdiction of the justice?

Answer: possibly yes, due to time constraints we discussed this briefly and we did not explore this in any detail.

Question: Should the same apply in matters of adoption?

Answer: JPs should only have responsibility for adoption once they have had adequate specialized training in this area

Question: Are you of the opinion that customary adoption (if it exists in your community) should be codified and incorporated in to the Civil Code of Québec?

Answer:

  • this was not discussed
  • we would like an opportunity to explore the approach used in the NWT, where there is a law being proposed that would not codify the customary adoption practice but legally recognize customary adoptions and leave the substantive issues of what a "customary adoption" out of the law and leave it up to local Inuit to determine whether specific adoptions would be recognized as "customary"
Question: At what interval should the Justice or Justices schedule hearings?

Answer: this depends on the JP, the rate of crime, the size of the community, there is no one answer each community may vary

(b) Community-Based Justice (pp. 23-33)

The working group examined the Working Document within the context and from perspective of women living in Nunavik. As such, this Document was evaluated and its proposals were assessed in terms of how such models or proposals could address family violence, sexual assault, child abuse and assault. In evaluating and assessing the models and initiatives a basic assumption is that the safety of women and children in the communities cannot be compromised or jeopardized in any way.

With this basic assumption, in general there was considerable concern many of the options would not promote the safety of women and children who are or could be victims of abuse or assault in the communities. his concern prompted this very important question from one of the working group members: what do we give up to get what they are offering us? If such models are given to the communities at the sake of the safety of women and children this is too high a price to pay to "improving" the existing justice system.

We recognize that the existing system is failing Inuit, yet at the same time, new alternatives must be seriously examined to ensure that they do not compound the damage and suffering already caused by the existing system. We are seriously exploring alternatives that meet the needs of all persons in the community including victims and accused.

As a minimum standard to any of these alternatives there must be guarantees that provide women with an effective and meaningful role in the administration of justice. Accordingly, we would support the inclusion of a guarantee of equal representation of women and men on any justice or diversion committee and as Justices.

I. Mediation
Question: Is mediation a method for resolving conflicts which interests you? If so why and how?

Answer:

  • Inuit have said the long waiting period to appear in court is a problem, during that time the person accused of the crime and the victims are reluctant about life and worried- the answer is not mediation but having the circuit court come more often to the community or have a judge in the community who is available all the time
  • the Committee proposes that mediation would be used to deal with "disputes and conflicts of a social nature" more consideration must be given to what is meant by conflicts and disputes of a social nature; many conflicts and disputes of a social nature include family violence, assaults, abuse in the home, and abuse and neglect of children; many of the conflicts are seldom reported to the police or considered to be criminal offences because they do fit within the definitions of assault within the Criminal Code; for example, spousal abuse takes many forms other than physical assaults that can be equally debilitating and threatening and could easily fall within the category of conflicts or disputes that are mediated; this is not acceptable to our working group
  • the type of disputes to be mediated are to be negotiated by members of the community and the Department of Justice. However, there is very little confidence that the type of disputes we have described above would be considered inappropriate for mediation; we are very sure that these types of disputes that often get downplayed or blamed upon the women in relationships would be left for mediation, as they are not taken seriously
  • in our view, mediation is a good method for resolving disputes arising from the James Bay Agreement, labour disputes, business differences, but not disputes that are minor criminal law matters or could become criminal law matters in Inuit communities.
  • in order for mediation to work, both have to consent to go, which means one of the two involved, if it is a type of abuse would have to come forward; there is too much responsibility placed upon victims to come forward to seek assistance of a mediator to resolve the abuse;
  • it is useless to go through mediation when dealing with issues like family violence, spousal assault and other abuse because the conflict will not be taken seriously,
  • mediation is a slap in the wrist
  • if person repeatedly abuses other and each time goes to the mediator this is useless
  • if someone does something to me I want to go to court right away, we have to go through the justice system and use the law that is there
  • mediation is too informal and we would put people in danger until an even more serious abuse takes place and then the criminal court has to get involved
  • abuse is a learned behaviour and if it is not dealt with it will go on it cannot be "mediated"
  • can't play with law today, treat it carefully, mediators would not have much powers; if something goes wrong in mediation who is responsible
  • in many cases the individuals involved in certain types of social conflict are like a time bomb waiting to go off, if a mediator confronts them and they go off this could be very scary
  • in the case of an abuse or assault, the victim would be left to go to the mediator to get help but many times the victim in spousal assault is blamed, it is her fault and told that things will get better if she just didn't complain or tried to be more happy, the victim is the one who is punished when this kind of thing happens
  • mediation is too weak
  • what type of agreement do you reach when one person has abused another person, man to woman or child; there is too much of a power imbalance
  • what if they break the agreement then what happens
  • what local authority does the mediator report to,
  • who monitors the agreement to make sure it is being followed
  • how do we protect people in danger who are going through mediation or if the agreement is broken
  • if they go ahead and bring in mediators they should only be responsible for issues that might be considered summary convictions if charged under the Criminal Code that relate to property crimes
  • it would take many years of on the job training and specialized training before they could be ready to deal with summary convictions about assault, abuse, sexual assault
  • in the communities when there is a problem-like a spousal assault it is very hard to say something about it to someone
  • if we forgive or the justice system doesn't really do much or take this seriously the victim is hurt even more
  • there are high rates of suicide of victims who are hurting, the person who did the harm may go on but the victims are affected and don't heal, they may try to kill themselves.
Question: Are there elders, men or women, in your community who are already acting as mediators?

Answer

  • Inuit had leaders in camps, camp leaders who were elders would counsel and help women and men where there was abuse, these elders who would counsel people in trouble- men who beat their wives for example- in traditional days these people maybe could be considered as mediators
  • today the elders are reluctant to use their knowledge and do things , they may have the knowledge to counsel but wait to do their work and wait to be asked because now they are told that this is "none of their business"
  • traditions like this have been left behind
  • today there are social workers, prevention workers, who already seem to do what a mediator would do
  • the explanation of "mediator" in Inuktitut suggests the mediator resolves the dispute but that is not to be the case- the mediator only facilitates, and it is the people involved that are responsible for finding solutions
  • if you introduce a new worker- the mediator- its a lot like another social worker and it will be hard to understand the difference
  • confusing
Question: Can you identify persons in your community who would be willing to act as mediators?

Answer

  • there is nothing in the Working Document that says how many mediators would be needed in the community
  • not very clear on who appoints or identifies mediators
  • it may not be appropriate for a mediator to mediate in their own community, perhaps mediators should mediate in other communities where they don't know the people as well, are not related and are more objective - in the other region
  • the criteria for becoming a criteria are not strong enough
  • what does "respected" really mean
  • there are leaders who might be considered "respected" but they are not really they may be privately using drugs, drink a lot or have problems with their family- they cannot be mediators and have these problems
  • you also have to look back in their past, think about their past,
  • Judges should appoint mediators but only people who, even if they are respected, are screened and trained (to a certain level- to see if they would be appropriate)
  • someone who is being considered as a mediator has to be someone who is fully healed, if not healed they should not be allowed to be a mediator
  • in one community a person who abused a child, became a born again Christian and a minister, he has power as a minister people are afraid to speak out against him and could never really say he is not "respected" and afraid to speak out against him to the local authority; at the same time to a judge or official from the outside he may look very respected
  • very difficult in a small community to say something about someone
  • in Inuit communities we often are very willing to "forgive" and encourage everyone to forgive someone who has done something wrong- yet there are people still hurting after we have forgiven, if that person who has hurt others is a mediator, people will continue to hurt and will not speak out
  • mediators would have a lot to do, if they are really respected people sometimes they are already doing something else, they may not have time to be trained and do their work,
  • mediators would have to be paid they cannot be volunteer-they have to be readily available, if it is volunteer work their job will always come first
Question: Would be it useful to have the person selected to act as a mediator receive specific training to perform that role?

Answer:

  • not useful but a necessity, extensive training required
  • law is serious business and a mediator would have to be someone who has knowledge of the legal system and issues to know their limits- if this person is dealing with "social conflict"
  • they would need considerable training if dealing with any relationship where any type of abuse is existing, starting, they need special counselling and standards to know when it is not appropriate to do mediation - a lot of people who are family law mediators in Canada and US go through extensive screening and have to do a lot of screening before undertaking a specific mediation to make sure that it is not dangerous, many will not mediate a family law matter where there has been any type of abuse; all academies, associations and organizations of Family law mediators have agreed that training and education on the dynamics of abuse is essential to do family law mediation, at a minimum this would have to apply in mediating cases that could be seen as criminal law matters or becoming criminal law matters
II. Diversion
Question: Do you consider that it would be possible to implement this method for resolving conflicts in your community?

Answer:

  • yes for cases for youth who are in trouble with the law
  • there are no resources in the communities to take on diversion and, more importantly, deliver the appropriate measures or sanctions for adults who commit criminal offences of assault and abuse against others
  • the type of alternative measures described in the Working Document would be too lenient for adults or even youth who are involved in sexual assault, abuse or other similar violent acts
  • if diversion is considered for adult offenders it should be restricted to summary offence type incidents that relate to property, for example vandalism, break and enter, theft under $200, but not for assaults or sexual assaults
Question: In your opinion are there members of your community who would be willing to participate on diversion committee and decide on alternative measures?

NOTE: the concerns raised under the section on mediation about selection, appointment, screening, and training of mediators, apply also to the selection appointment, screening, and training of diversion committee members

Answer:

  • the justice committee could also act as the diversion committee not just oversee it
  • the communities are too small to have layers of communities there are not enough people
Question: Would some members of your community be willing to assume responsibility for the alternative measures chosen and see to their implementation?

Answer:

  • there is a need to clarify in this model what the role of the community social workers and probation officer would be, for example would a probation officer be responsible for making sure a person on diversion was following the committee's orders or would that be the responsibility of the diversion committee?
  • the diversion committee when deciding what to do in a particular case and on alternative measures should not just talk to the probation officer and social worker but also talk to family members, foster parents and guardians; these people should be well informed about what is happening?
Question: Would you limit the use of this method to minor or lesser offences?

Answer:

  • based on the type of alternative measures available ( as described in the Working Document and also due to financial resources), the powers of the diversion committee would have to be limited to minor or lesser offences involving property offences, by-laws, driving offences because the measures would be considered too lenient for other offences or that the type of services outlined are not available in the community (how do could you order weekend custody if there is not place to hold someone, or order a workshop on violence or sexual assault if there are no workshops available or no funds available to send a person out to attend a workshop elsewhere?)
  • recognizing we think diversion is only useful for youth as provided for under the Young Offenders Act, we think diversion in Inuit communities should not be used for cases where youth involved in serious crimes like sexual assault, abuse of a girlfriend, child, or murder, and other crimes against a person
  • don't want diversion to be considered an easy way out, now people are seeing "circle sentencing" as an easy way out, to avoid jail,
  • people will begin to think it is not worth pressing charges because the problem is not dealt with seriously and the sentence is too lenient
  • also community committee may not have the resources to provide the measures needed for example workshop or therapy for sexual assault or violence or alcohol and drug abuse, they can only do weekend or overnight stays, but if not facilities, no police, no guard how can this be done?
Question: In your opinion, would alternative measures in certain cases make it possible to revive or apply traditional methods for resolving conflicts?

Answer:

  • must be careful that "traditional methods" or traditional practices are not used to simply get the easy way out, "created" to be used as an excuse for behaviour or conduct prohibited in the Criminal Code or other penal statute, or used to unduly influence a jury or other members of an alternative model like a diversion committee or justice committee or Inuk justice
  • if the system uses its laws to convict it should also follow its laws when it decides the sentence
Justice Committee
Question: Is the justice committee a more effective method to meet your expectations:

Answer:

  • unclear what the Committee is being compared to, if it is the existing criminal justice system use of circuit court judges, we don't see the committee replacing the justice system
  • have to continue to ask the question in order to get this committee and the other models proposed in this paper, what do we have to give up
Question: Is the justice committee as described in the Working Document in harmony with your cultural values

Answer:

  • the Committee is still very much rooted in the existing criminal justice system, to the extent it gives back to the community some control over its own affairs, it is in harmony with our view that we are responsible for our own affairs but there is still some concern that when the "community" is given to control there are some who may abuse that power to the detriment of women and children who are victims of abuse and assault
  • in terms of the "committee" being within our "cultural values", it would be hard to say because we have not traditionally had justice committees
Question: Should elders only be appointed to this committee?

Answer: No

Question: On the contrary, do you believe that a justice committee should include besides elders, men and women of all ages as well as young people?

Answer:

  • a lot of consideration has to be given to who can have responsibility for justice in the communities, the same process of selection appointment and codes of conduct that we have proposed for Justices, diversion committee members should apply for members of the justice committee
  • at a minimum there should be certainty that women and men are equally represented regardless of age
Question: Are the powers granted to the justice committee sufficient?

Answer:

  • taking into account our earlier responses to mediation and diversion, the role of the justice committee seems adequate
  • but there could be more in relation to probation (see next answer)
  • if the committees take on more responsibility that should be done so ONLY if they have adequate resources and training to take on different responsibilities
  • as discussed under the diversion section, in many small communities having a diversion committee and a justice committee is too many layers, the should have one committee to do both.
Question: Do you see other possible functions which could be performed by the justice committee?

Answer:

  • the Committee or Justices should be mandated to oversee probationary orders granted by the judges, the probation officers are too few and do not adequately follow-up and there are a lot of breaches
  • the Committee could meet with probationers on a regular basis to ensure they are following their orders, if there is a breach, they would be responsible for notifying the Judge and police immediately to take action
Question: Do you believe that members of your community would be willing to participate in a justice committee? If so, could you identify them?

Answer:

  • our comments regarding who would be mediators, the need to be paid not volunteers (which was raised under mediators and diversion) and the need for extensive screening and selection criteria (as proposed by us for Justices) would have to be undertaken for a justice committee
  • there are too many committees on a volunteer basis, this is far too important to leave it to volunteers, we need people paid to do this and they must be thoroughly screened and would apply just like a JP
  • they should also receive extensive training about the criminal justice system, impacts and dynamics of family violence, abuse, child abuse and assault and sexual assault on victims
Question: Do you have any other suggestions regarding other methods of participation by the community in the administration of justice

Answer:

  • we would welcome the opportunity to further develop alternatives, we haven't had an opportunity to spend some time thinking about this
  • this is the first time we have been consulted on this matter, with more time we can feel we can develop some safe and workable alternatives and models
  • we have reviewed the proposals of the Inuit Justice Task Force and we do not fully agree with their proposals as they would not adequately address the needs of women and children who are victims of violence and could compromise the safety of women and children in our communities even more so than the existing system
Potential Initiatives Under the Current System

(c) Family Law

Pauktuutit completed its workshop/consultation of seven Inuit women from each of the NWT regions to review the policy paper produced by the (GNWT) Department of Social Services, the Family Law Reform Report and the proposed Custom Adoption Ordinance. As a result of this consultation, Pauktuutit requested territorial funding to assist in the development of a detailed review of the impact of the proposed legislation on Inuit women. This was not approved. The report of the consultation held this past summer will be completed shortly.

In the meantime, Pauktuutit has met with the Department of Social Services officials on December 20, 1994 to review their proposed Child Welfare Legislation to discuss problems, concerns and issues that have been raised by Inuit women. (p.8)


[104] The participants of the justice workshop held in Ottawa August 12-16, 1994 presented their views, recommendations and response to the working document of the Quebec Advisory Committee on the Administration of Justice for Native Communities.   Two representatives from the Ungava Coast and two representatives from the Hudson Coast accompanied Martha Flaherty and Ruby Arngna'naaq in the oral presentation to the Committee members.  This presentation took place in Ottawa on August 16th before the Committee Chair, Judge Coutu. This was an Advisory Committee established in Quebec however, the issues raised parallel the issues and concerns identified by women in Nunavut.

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