A new study from Statistics Canada shows Alberta holds one of the highest female homicide rates among provinces. Indigenous women account for 25% of Canadian female homicide victims, but in Alberta the difference in rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women is even higher.
Jan Reimer, Executive Director of Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS), believes Alberta leaders have a larger part to play to ensure institutions support the safety of all Albertans:
“The perpetrators of violent crimes must bare the blame for their actions. But, as a society, we must also recognize the link between inequality, sexism and a culture that tolerates violence against women. Institutional sexism and racism absolutely contribute to the violent victimization of women in Alberta.”
She continued, “We’ve seen too many examples of what not to do: a judge placing an Indigenous sexual assault victim in shackles alongside her attacker, a Calgary city council member mime-stabbing a female colleague, Alberta leaders standing by as protestors chant threats against women in politics. These events are all symptoms of a culture that intimidates and victimizes women, instead of supporting them.”
"Sadly, domestic violence continues to be at the heart of this conversation. Statistics Canada reported that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous female homicide victims were most likely to be killed by a current or former spouse/intimate partner. 
Society needs clear leadership to bring this to an end. Leadership means standing up for those in need of support— and opening up avenues for women, Indigenous peoples and people of colour to take on leadership roles. It also means making meaningful interventions against sexism and racism in our institutions and individual actions.”
 66% of non-Indigenous women were killed by a current or former spouse/partner; 62% of Indigenous women were killed by a current or former spouse/partner.
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.
ACWS Shelter Helpline: 1-866-331-3933
The ACWS Leading Change call-to-action offers gender-based violence awareness training to organizations, schools, and workplaces. The Leading Change Domestic Violence in the Workplace program trains workplaces to understand the occupational health and safety issues around domestic violence and educates employers and staff how to recognize the signs of abuse and support colleagues facing domestic violence.
Alberta leaders who wish to make a positive contribution to the issue of violence against women should consider implementing gender-based analysis in their organization/workplace, educating themselves and staff on issues of gender equality and Indigenous perspectives, and ensuring their workplace occupational health and safety standards support a safe environment for victims of domestic violence.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on ACWS training opportunities.
ACWS Communications Advisor