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Inuit women in Canada's north encountering 'racialized policing,' report says

A Canada flag flies beside an Nunavut flag in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. A new report on how police respond to violence against women in Canada's four northern Inuit regions says researchers have uncovered "systemic racialized policing" there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — A new report on how police respond to violence against women in Canada’s four northern Inuit regions says researchers have uncovered “systemic racialized policing” there.

Interviews with Inuit women and service providers in these regions, known collectively as the Inuit Nunangat, reveal many women encounter so much gender-based violence, they have come to expect it.

The report’s authors cite Inuit women who say they are often not believed when they report abuse and are sometimes removed from their homes themselves after reporting a violent incident.

The report also says police dispatching systems in the North are often inadequate and that officers’ limited time in particular communities and lack of knowledge of the Inuit language has created a perception among locals that police are outsiders.

The report’s 15 recommendations call for a cultural shift in policing to adapt to Inuit tradition and history, and for more female police officers to be involved in cases of violence against women.

The study was conducted by University of Manitoba professor Elizabeth Comack and the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press