Introduction: Aboriginal Women and Family Violence


In recent years, family violence has become a prominent area of social research. However, no comprehensive studies have detailed the scope of this crime within Aboriginal communities. As well, scant documentation exists analyzing the attitudes and perceptions of victims, their abusers and the community at large within the Aboriginal context.

In 2006, the Ipsos-Reid research firm prepared a report entitled "Aboriginal Women and Family Violence" for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The research project on which the report is based studied the attitudes and opinions of Aboriginal women, and the professionals who work with them, on the issue of family violence, specifically intimate partner violence against women.Footnote 1 This report is a condensed version of the larger report.

The following aspects of the issue are addressed in this report:

  • The importance of intimate partner violence compared to other issues facing women in Aboriginal communities - that is, perceptions of incidence and severity of violence;
  • Causes of male violence against women in Aboriginal communities, including opinions on the role of factors such as poverty, familial experience, parenting skills, substance abuse, familial and community indifference, and gender stereotyping;
  • Consequences of male violence against Aboriginal women - in terms of the effects on the emotional, physical and financial status of the victims and the effects on children, extended families, community relationships and the abuser;
  • Sources of help for Aboriginal women who experience violence (such as shelters, crisis centres and social services) in terms of accessibility, privacy, safety and reliability;
  • Resources available for the families of both victims and abusers, including educational preventative initiatives and long-term counselling;
  • Gaps in resources and community supports needed to end male violence against Aboriginal women; and
  • Perceptions of effective ways to disseminate information and provide assistance to families experiencing this form of violence.

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