Understanding Family Violence and Sexual Assault in the Territories, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

Acknowledgements

While this report is short, the hands that helped form it were many.

I would like to thank the Crown Prosecutors and Directors of Public Prosecution Service Canada (PPSC) across the territories for initiating and facilitating the development of research on the high rates of family violence and sexual assault in the territories. Richard Meredith, Director, PPSC, in the Yukon, and Diane Sylvain, Director, PPSC, in the NWT, were key in this work. I also thank Bonnie Tulloch, Director, and Judy Chan, Head of Prosecutions, PPSC, in Nunavut, for also facilitating the data gathering and for their continued support.

I thank Manon Harvey for all the good work she did in developing the file review questionnaire and in training the data gathering team.

I thank Jeff Latimer and Paul Verbrugge for all their generosity and expertise in SAS.

I thank all those who aided in this by their careful data gathering in the territories and data entry here. I thank Janet Graham, Odette Charette, Jo-Anne Chretien, André Solecki, and Sidikat Fashola.

And I thank Charlotte Mercier for her keen eyes and careful shepherding of this report through the rigours of the publication process.

Abstract

Research was completed on family violence and sexual assault offences in the territories using Crown Prosecutor files for the time period of January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2004. This study examines the relationship between the offender and the offender's personal history of violent abuse within the framework developed through the work of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP 1996 and 2002), and subsequent studies undertaken based on the RCAP findings. The findings provide evidence of a relationship between offence and offender's history of abuse. This report also provides details of the family violence and sexual assault offences committed. It includes data on the most serious offence, the decision, and the sentences for sexual assault offences, followed by data on family violence offences. In addition, some data are provided on the victims of these offences, their injuries, and their victim impact statements. A key finding is the high numbers of both family violence and sexual assault accused who had at least one form of abuse in their own personal histories. The data here indicate that approximately three-quarters (77%) of those accused of a family violence offence suffered at least one form of abuse, as did just over two-thirds (66%) of those accused of a sexual assault offence.

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