FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON (December 12, 2016) Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada commends National Chief Perry Bellegarde and the Assembly of First Nations for successfully bringing the issue of childhood sexual abuse to the attention of Minister Bennett, Minister Hajdu and Minister Philpott.
Since 1984, Pauktuutit has consistently raised public awareness about the need to address both physical and sexual abuse in Inuit communities. The national organization has tirelessly advocated for Inuit specific prevention, healing, and treatment services for victims of abuse as well as offenders. Pauktuutit has most recently addressed this critical issue by creating a 2016 strategic plan for Inuit Violence Prevention and Healing that includes specific measures to address child sexual abuse.
Pauktuutit attended the federal roundtable on preventing violence against Indigenous women in July as well as the roundtable on child maltreatment in September led by Minister Hajdu. At both of these roundtables, Pauktuutit called for immediate action on childhood sexual abuse in Inuit communities. Up until this recent announcement, response from the government around this issue has been minimal with no plan for collective action.
“We are hopeful that with AFN’s announcement there will be a new opportunity for Pauktuutit and the federal government to work in a collaborative method across departments to address the high levels of childhood sexual abuse in Inuit Nunangat,” said Pauktuutit President Rebecca Kudloo. ‘I also commend and thank individuals like Beatrice Hope of Nunatsiavut and Natan Obed, President of ITK and others for speaking out about this issue and the need for immediate and holistic responses. Inuit children are no less deserving of protection and support than First Nations children on reserve or any other child in Canada,’ Kudloo concluded. Pauktuutit is committed to working with the federal government to ensure that immediate efforts are taken to end childhood sexual abuse.
While awareness of child sexual abuse and the needs of survivors and other family members seems to be growing, clearly much more needs to be done to bring this issue into the open, to work together to prevent further abuse and to support survivors in their healing journey.
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
Irina Appa Rose Mary Cooper