Winnipeg police look to do better job protecting Indigenous women and girls

first_imgDennis WardAPTN National NewsWINNIPEG – Police in Canada’s largest urban Aboriginal community will soon take steps they hope will better protect Indigenous women and girls from violence.The Winnipeg police board unanimously approved a plan to direct Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis to provide the board regular updates on ongoing cases.The face of murdered Tina Fontaine, 15, has become an unofficial symbol of Indigenous women who were murdered or went missing in Winnipeg.  But there are many others, like Millie Flett, Felicia Solomon and Sunshine Wood.In one of its last orders of business, the previous Winnipeg city council supported calls for a public inquiry or national roundtable on missing and murdered Indigenous women. They also urged the incoming police board to do all it could to prevent, investigate and solve the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the city.On Friday, the board unanimously approved a resolution that calls for better protection for Indigenous women, prevention measures to reduce further violence and stepped up efforts to solve cases of missing and murdered women.“With the prominence, unfortunately of assaults against Indigenous women, this is a priority,” said Scott Gillingham, chair of the board. “We’ve heard from the public and we’re trying to respond.”The board also plans to establish an Indigenous advisory council on policing and prevention by June 2015. The advisory council is expected to identify priorities, programs and strategies to improve the safety and well being of Indigenous people in Winnipeg.Gillingham said the police board has no position on whether there should be a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. Instead, the board will focus on actions that can be taken now.Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said much of the debate on missing and murdered women has been focused on what the federal government can do, but cities, like Winnipeg that have “far too many victims,” have a role to play too.Bowman said city council has plans of its own to address the issue and promised there would be announcements coming in the new year.The police board has also directed Clunis to provide regular updates on the current activities to solving outstanding cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women.A report is expected to be tabled at the board’s next meeting in January.dward@aptn.calast_img

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