Ending Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls
ONWA’s 1989 “Breaking Free” report found that 8 out of 10 Aboriginal women will experience violence at some point in our lives. The unfortunate reality is that despite efforts, Aboriginal women and girls continue to experience alarmingly high rates of violence. The more than 1000 Aboriginal women and girls who have been missing or murdered between 1980 and 2013 indicates that more needs to be done to end this violence.
In addressing violence against Aboriginal girls and women, more must be done to fully understand the political, socio-economic contexts specific to what makes Aboriginal women and girls disproportionately experience such high rates of violence.
Violence against Aboriginal women and girls is a national problem which will require both a national and community-based response. Change must begin at the community level, but attempts to address violence and the devaluing of Aboriginal women will not be effective unless addressed at the systemic level. Wholistic approaches which recognize individuals as part of a family, families as part of communities, and communities as part of larger society are necessary to address the complex issue of violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
At ONWA, the Department of Policy and Research is engaged in a number of research projects addressing violence against Aboriginal women and girls including the Aboriginal Sexual Violence Community Response Initiative, and a research partnership with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres that will update the original “Breaking Free” report. ONWA also participates in the Joint Working Group on Violence Against Aboriginal Women with four other Aboriginal organizations and ten provincial ministries.
To end violence against Aboriginal women and girls, ONWA considers violence in relation to our other areas of focus such as housing, healing and wellness, education, training, employment, children and youth, poverty, and the environment.