Indigenous Populations Research Team

The Indigenous Populations Research Team conducts research on risk assessment, risk management, and safety planning for Indigenous people living with domestic violence.

The Indigenous Populations Research Team is co-led by:

Jennifer B. Lord, Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)

Dr. Jane Ursel, University of Manitoba

Fact Sheets


Aboriginal Women and Family Violence

This report examines the scope of family violence within Aboriginal/Indigenous communities. Specifically, the report analyzes the attitudes and behaviours of Aboriginal/Indigenous women, and the professionals that work with them, on the issue of family violence, particularly intimate partner violence against women. The report discusses the following issues: incidence and severity of violence; potential causes of male violence in Aboriginal/Indigenous communities; consequences of male violence against Aboriginal/Indigenous women; sources of help for victims; availability of resources for families; and perceptions of how to effectively disseminate information and provide support to families experiencing this form of violence.

Collaboration to End Violence: National Aboriginal Women’s Forum June 15-17, 2011, Vancouver BC. Final Report for the Department of Justice, Canada

This report summarizes the outcomes and recommendations developed from the Collaboration to End Violence: National Aboriginal Women’s Forum, which was held in Vancouver BC from June 15-17, 2011. The overall outcomes from the forum highlighted a need for a holistic and community-driven network of responses, increased accountability, and improved relationships. A comprehensive list of 13 themes was generated as recommendations that include: community engagement, empowerment, holistic approaches, improved networks, equitable access, accountability, national strategy, public awareness, and funding.

Community Guide to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women

This is a culturally relevant guide that addresses violence and its impact on Aboriginal/Indigenous women. The guide provides a thorough explanation of violence (types, power and control, and healthy relationships), a description of best practices for Aboriginal/Indigenous women, and descriptions of community approaches that have been taken to help end this violence.

Community Resource Guide: What Can I Do to Help the Families of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls?

This is a comprehensive guide for volunteers, as well as the general public, to help respond to the crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal/Indigenous women and girls. The guide outlines various ways in which individuals can get involved, help, and heal, by providing readers with information and tools needed to intervene. The guide focuses on three main avenues to get involved as a volunteer including: advocates and campaigners, people assisting families, and teachers and educators.

Ending Violence against Aboriginal Women and Girls: A New Beginning

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women released its final report, “Ending Violence against Aboriginal Women and Girls: A New Beginning.” The report is based on a study initiated by the committee in 2009 that included hearings in Ottawa and in 14 communities across the country where over 150 witnesses, mostly Aboriginal/Indigenous women, shed light on the very high rates of violence against Aboriginal/Indigenous women and girls in Canada.  This final report builds on the interim report of the committee, “A Call into the Night: An Overview of Violence Against Aboriginal Women.”  The final report highlights issues of Aboriginal/Indigenous poverty, property and economic growth; missing and murdered Aboriginal/Indigenous women and girls; community safety including policing, access to justice, housing and shelter; and family violence prevention and healing such as residential schools and their aftermath and child welfare.  Recommendations for intervention and prevention are listed.    

James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, called for a public inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across the country after a fact-finding visit to Canada in October 2013.  Read Mr. Anaya’s statement upon conclusion of the visit to Canada

Fact Sheet: Violence Against Aboriginal Women

This brief fact sheet outlines the issue of violence against Aboriginal/Indigenous women. The fact sheet highlights the higher rates of violence experienced by Aboriginal/Indigenous women compared to non-Aboriginal/Indigenous women; the need for continued research and awareness of the different forms of violence; and the overrepresentation of Aboriginal/Indigenous women as victims of homicide.

Interim Report Call into the Night: An Overview of Violence Against Aboriginal Women

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women began a study in 2010 on violence against Aboriginal/Indigenous women. The goals of the study are to gain an understanding of the extent and nature of this violence, examine the root causes of the violence, and collaborate with Aboriginal/Indigenous women to provide recommendations for solutions. This report provides an overview of the research conducted from 2010-2011 and the findings concluded thus far. The report includes topics such as forms of violence; poverty; judicial response; opportunity for healing; and the continuum of housing.

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview

In 2013, the RCMP initiated a study of reported incidents of missing and murdered Aboriginal/Indigenous women and girls across all police jurisdictions in Canada.  Results from the report revealed a total of 1,181 police-recorded incidents of Aborigina/Indigenousl female homicides (1,017) and unresolved missing Aboriginal/Indigenous females (164) and 225 unsolved cases of either missing or murdered Aboriginal/Indigenous females in Canada.  There were similarities within the homicide cases such as most were committed by men and most of the victims knew the perpetrator.  The report concludes that the total number of murdered and missing Aboriginal/Indigenous women and girls far exceeds previous public estimates.  The RCMP intends to work with the originating agencies responsible for the data to release as much as possible to stakeholders and to make information more widely available.

Resources for Shelter Workers Providing Services to First Nations Women

The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence (NACAFV) developed a document that lists resources for shelter workers providing services to First Nations Women. The document lists federal resources followed by provincial and territorial resources. Resources for each province and territory are organized by legal services; provincial or territorial government services; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada regional branches; provincial or territorial human rights commissions; and general resources. All lists are available in English and French.

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

This report examines family violence and sexual assault offenses in the territories by reviewing Crown Prosecutor files from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2004.

The Healing Journey: A Longitudinal Study of Aboriginal Women Affected by Intimate Partner Violence

This report focuses on a study that examined the wellbeing of Aboriginal/Indigenous women living in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Specifically, the researchers examined systemic factors and how they may either act as supports or barriers to Aboriginal/Indigenous women’s health. The results provide an overview of the health concerns to these women, both physical and psychological, as well as the survival strategies used by Aboriginal/Indigenous women experiencing intimate partner violence.

Violent victimization of Aboriginal women in the Canadian provinces, 2009

This Juristat article from Statistics Canada provides a thorough description and statistical outline of violence against Aboriginal/Indigenous women in Canada. The article highlights the disproportionately elevated rate of violent victimization of Aboriginal/Indigenous women in Canada in comparison to non-Aboriginal/Indigenous women.

Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit: A Report to Families and Communities

The Sisters in Spirit is an initiative focused on addressing the alarmingly high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. This article provides an account of the lives of the missing and murdered women and girls from the perspective of their loved ones. The authors gathered information from the family members and wrote detailed stories of the lives of those victimized. The article concludes with an update of the statistics and research completed thus far by the Sisters in Spirit initiative.

What Their Stories Tell Us: Research findings from the Sisters In Spirit Initiative

In 2005, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) received funding from the Status of Women Canada to create the Sisters in Spirit Initiative. The purpose of the Sisters in Spirit Initiative was to identify the number of Indigenous women and girls who had gone missing or who had been killed; understand the root causes, circumstances and trends around this violence; and address why this violence occurred without any support or intervention from the Canadian justice system. As of March 31, 2010, the Sisters in Spirit Initiative identified 582 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls. The research findings attributed the impact of colonization, state policies, and intergenerational trauma to the violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls and highlighted the need for policy, programs and services to address these issues in order to prevent future violence.