Indigenous Study Says Domestic Violence Has Increased During Pandemic

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Domestic Violence

There has been a dramatic increase in intimate partner violence against Indigenous women since the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic. An Indigenous -led survey entitled “Intimate Partner Violence against Indigenous Women in BC: Unintended Impacts of COVID-19”, will provide information to improve support services for Indigenous women, and their children, who are facing intimate partner violence.

The survey is part of a multi-phase research project led by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) and Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) and conducted by Indigenous health researchers at the University of Victoria.

“The continued overrepresentation of Indigenous women and girls in cases of gender-based violence indicates a clear need for Indigenous-led support services that are culturally safe, relevant, and accessible,” said Leslie Varley, Executive Director of the BCAAFC.

The number of women and girls killed by violence in British Columbia is among the highest by region in Canada (Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, 2021) . Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than non-Indigenous women, a number that is even higher for Indigenous women and girls in the North (National Inquiry, 2019).

“Canada is in a crisis, gender-based violence towards Indigenous women, girls, trans, two spirit and non-binary people is the worst it has ever been. This survey will clearly identify the barriers and what still needs to happen to protect Indigenous women and girls from not only the threat but the act of gender based violence,” said Summer-Rain, Manager, Indigenous Women’s Program, BWSS.

The knowledge shared by participants in the research study will help social service organizations, such as BC Friendship Centres and the BWSS, improve and increase support services that address the needs of Indigenous women and girls experiencing gender-based violence.

A report on the research findings will amplify the voices of Indigenous women and girls, and call for the design, development and delivery of anti-violence supports that serve them.

The survey is available online athttp://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/IndigIPVResearch.