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Inuktut version available here.

There are no roads to escape violence in Inuit communities.  Women find themselves pressured not to report domestic abuse by their spouses, upon whom they are usually financially dependent.  As well, victims of domestic abuse often have low self-esteem and blame themselves for the violence and their situation, compounding their hesitation to report. 

Many women who are victims of domestic violence also have lived childhood trauma. It can be difficult, if not impossible, for a woman to escape this lifelong cycle of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. 

Pauktuutit’s work to break the cycle of domestic violence and abuse:

  • Pauktuutit’s priority is to support healing from the intergenerational impacts of colonization, relocation and residential schools. 
  • A holistic Inuit worldview is needed, there are interconnective links to the collective society.
  • Pauktuutit is advocating for Inuit values, culture, language and traditions to be integrated into education, policing, the broader justice system, as well as the delivery of all socioeconomic programs for Inuit, including healthcare.
  • Pauktuutit is working to create more healing programs and retain long-term, Inuit-designed program and services.
  • There must be synergy to look at all areas to shift the paradigm, including a commitment to the MMIWG Inquiry’s National Action Plan at all F/P/T and LCO levels.  Further, this commitment must be integrated with Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and a 2SLGBTQQIA lens. 
  • Pauktuutit is working to ensure women understand their rights
  • Pauktuutit continues to strongly advocate for more funding for urgently needed emergency shelters and transition housing for women and children. 
  • Our ‘Engaging Men and Boys in Violence Prevention’ initiative is an example of the holistic approach needed to successfully reduce the high level of domestic violence in our communities. This represents a shift towards healing men and boys to break the cycle of abuse.

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Pauktuutit’s work on policing:

  • Pauktuutit now has a formal agreement with the RCMP to work together to implement our 15 recommendations on policing to improve the safety of our women, including those who are victims of domestic violence. 
  • More emphasis on violence prevention by policing services is needed to reduce domestic abuse in Inuit communities.
  • The police need to be integrated into our communities and understand Inuit history, culture and language. This is key to build trust and essential for Inuit to feel that police serve to protect them. 
  • For example, the Inuit way of dealing with family violence is speaking to the man, warning him how incidents of domestic violence can and do escalate, what the probable result for him is (long jail time), and extending an offer to help – through anger management counselling, treatment for alcohol abuse, etc.  
  • Police need to be trusted allies in this work to prevent family violence. This means being more involved in the community, being more proactive, better explaining what could or might happen. 
  • But, for proactive policing to prevent incidents of domestic violence to be effective, Inuit must first trust the police, and believe they will act to prevent harm. 
  • It’s hard to ‘trust’ when the officer talking to you doesn’t speak your language, and when police members stay just two years in a posting in Inuit Nunangat, while living on a compound (separate quarters) from the rest of the community, socializing amongst others from the south, not participating in community activities and unfamiliar with the rest of the community and its leaders. Trust cannot be built in isolation, only integration.

Pauktuutit is the national non-profit organization representing all Inuit women in Canada. Its mandate is to foster a greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, and to encourage their participation in community, regional and national concerns in relation to social, cultural and economic development.

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For more information, please contact: 

Susan King, sking@pauktuutit.ca, 613-724-1518

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