On International Women’s Day, March 8, the Law Society of Nunavut in partnership with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada launched the Access to Justice Family Violence Prevention public awareness campaign at the Astro Theater in Iqaluit.

The goal is to build a better understanding of the legal barriers facing Inuit women dealing with family violence and their needs.

Over four months, data was collected through 38 interviews from all over Nunavut with individual Inuit women, to help understand their lived experiences and to inform the development of this awareness campaign.

RCMP V Division commanding officer Chief Supt. Amanda Jones, left, speaks at the launch of the campaign and is joined on stage by criminal operations officer and Supt. Marie-Claude Coté, federal serious and organized crime unit Sgt. Lisa Leith and family violence co-ordinator Cpl. Tammy Lobb. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

Social media, radio, video, print and digital advertising will be a part of this, as well as two podcasts being developed with the Government of Nunavut’s Dept. of Health, focusing on mental and sexual health.

Stephen Jackson, assistant deputy minister speaking on behalf of Nunavut’s Health Minister Lorne Kusugak said, “this campaign is an important step towards the goal of addressing the harms family violence causes to all Nunavummiut.”

The Department of Health has also joined the campaign’s advisory committee which Law Society of Nunavut CEO Nalini Vaddapalli described as “core to this project.”

“(It reflects) the importance of addressing the abuse and family violence holistically, the committee represents a wide range of organizations, both Government and Non-Government,” said Vaddapalli.

The RCMP were also present to support the launch, with a number of female RCMP officers present including Amanda Jones, the Commanding Officer for the RCMP in Nunavut, and the first woman to hold the post of commanding officer for V Division.

“We the RCMP and I, their commanding officer, fully support Pauktuutit and the Law Society of Nunavut in this Access to Justice Campaign,” said Jones.

John MacLean, president of the Law Society of Nunavut, also spoke, saying that everyone knows someone who has been affected by family violence.

“Each of us can identify someone in our lives who has been affected by family violence, maybe it’s a member of our family, maybe it’s someone we love, someone who’s loved us, maybe it’s a colleague who comes to work with a bruise they didn’t have on Friday night,  each one of us knows someone,” MacLean said.

President of Pauktuutit, Rebecca Kudloo, also gave remarks, however she was unable to make it to the event from Baker Lake.

“The goals of this Family Violence Prevention Initiative and International Women’s Day will be achieved when women and men work together to end domestic violence and gender inequality,” said Joanna Awa, speaking on behalf of Kudloo.

“The collaborative approach to this project has given us a unique road map to explore ways to break the silence and work better together,” said Vaddapalli.

For more information or future updates on this campaign, you could like and follow Break The Silence on social media.

Nunavut’s Minister of Family Services Elisapee Sheutiapik speaks during the Access to Justice campaign launch In Iqaluit, March 8. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

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