Every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her partner, and on any given night, more than 6,000 women and children sleep in shelters because it is not safe at home. These are staggering numbers.

The rate of domestic violence in Nunavut is 10 times higher than in the rest of the country and more shelters are needed.

Colonization, effects of residential schools, alcohol and drug abuse and a housing shortage all contribute to family violence in the region.

The Law Society of Nunavut and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, have launched an awareness campaign to shed light on report findings. Access to Justice: Family Violence Prevention project is aimed at awareness about family violence and the legal options available in Nunavut to address the issue.

“The project is a collaboration between the Law Society, Pauktuutit, and the Nunavut communities,” says Romy Leclerc, Project & Policy Development Coordinator. The project is funded by Justice Canada and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

“The Family Abuse Intervention Act (FAIA) came into effect in March 2008. Its goal was to reflect an approach to abuse that is aligned with Inuit principles and values,” says Nalini Vaddapalli, Chief Executive Officer, Law Society of Nunavut.

In gathering information on what was working and what was not, the project team visited communities throughout Nunavut and heard from abuse victims. The project also involved a literature review and focus groups comprised of Inuit and non-Inuit service providers and community members. Interviews were conducted in Iqaluit, Kinngait, Pangnirtung, Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Arviat.

“We want to thank the 38 courageous Inuit women from the three regions of Nunavut who participated in this research. Their stories are powerful, and we are so grateful they chose to share their experience,” says Leclerc. “We are equally grateful for the service providers and community members who participated in the focus groups. Sharing their knowledge with us was invaluable.”

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Breaking The Silence Awareness Campaign continues to host various informative podcasts and initiatives.

The event line-up includes a video of an Inuk woman with lived experience sharing her courageous story. More videos will be added as the campaign progresses.

In the Podcast, Talking about Justice, the focus is on family violence and abuse – what it is and where to go for help. It features interviews with Ruth Eetuk Pootoolik, Community Justice Outreach Worker and Acting Community Justice Specialist in Coral Harbour, Department of Justice, Government of Nunavut; Joan Killulark, Community Health Representative in Baker Lake, Department of Health, Government of Nunavut; Camilla Sehti, Community Mental Health Specialist, Mental Health and Addictions Team, Government of Nunavut; Raha Ravasian, Project Manager, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada; and Noah Papatsie, Facilitator and Curriculum Advisor, ilinniapaa Skills Development Centre.

To learn more about the project and what you can do, visit: lawsociety.nu.ca/en/family-violence-prevention

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