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

6. Discussion

The purpose of this study of family violence and sexual assaults in the territories was to provide a more in-depth understanding of the processes that result in such offences. In particular, these data investigated the process for a more specific understanding of the literature that traces one root of causation to the negative outcomes of the colonization process on the Indigenous First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. The findings in this research indicate that the majority of family violence and sexual assault offenders have suffered from personal histories of violent victimization.

The findings here of a high rate of a history of violent victimization among violent offenders has implications that speak to the appropriateness of system responses. Moreover, the socio-legal context is, in turn, connected to specific socio-economic factors. There are a number of studies that look at the ongoing socio-economic outcomes of the colonization process for the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Klodawsky et. al. (2006) conducted an analysis of the higher rates of homelessness among Aboriginal peoples. In their work, Brzozwski et. al. (2006) include an analysis of the lower rates of completed education, employment, and income, and the incumbent higher rates of crowded households, as well as higher rates of lone parent households among Aboriginal Peoples.

Each of these factors has been found to be highly correlated with criminal behaviour (Brzozwski et. al. 2006). These multiple risk factors are characterized by Dion Stout and Kipling (1998) as a “risk pile-up” and “the pitfalls of the political economy of every day life” for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples (p.15).While this may not reflect the lives of the majority of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, for those caught in this risk pile-up, they may be entrenched in ongoing marginalization, below standard living conditions, impoverishment, and intergenerational trauma and its legacy of violence as a victim and/or as an offender.

As a result of the RCAP findings and subsequent research, a number of system responses have been initiated. Within the Department of Justice, the Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS), the Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI), the Family Violence Initiative (FVI), and the Research and Statistics Division (RSD) work together to support the development of local capacity building and infrastructure development in local Aboriginal communities through funding

promising pilot programs; the Department also undertakes policy development and legislative reform. Of historic note, the courts, working with Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada (IRSRC), approved the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (Settlement Agreement) on March 21, 2007. [11] A key component of the Settlement Agreement is the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which is expected to begin its work in early 2008.

[11] See: http://www.irsr-rqpi.gc.ca

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