Yukon’s women need more help

The Yukon Women’s Coalition is shocked by the recent deaths of Sarah MacIntosh and Wendy Margaret Carlick. We extend our sincere condolences to the MacIntosh and Carlick families and to the communities of Whitehorse and Watson Lake.

The Yukon Women’s Coalition is shocked by the recent deaths of Sarah MacIntosh and Wendy Margaret Carlick. We extend our sincere condolences to the MacIntosh and Carlick families and to the communities of Whitehorse and Watson Lake.

Both women were well known and loved by many. Wendy Carlick was a passionate advocate who worked tirelessly at seeking answers about the untimely death of her own young daughter, Angel Carlick. Her efforts contributed a great deal to raising awareness around missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls and the need for answers and support. Sarah MacIntosh opened her doors to those in need and was a huge support to many.

The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls amounts to a crisis in the Yukon. The women who are missing or murdered are mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunties and important members of our communities. The murders of Angel and Wendy Carlick are a generational tragedy. Many people are hurting and women’s groups are concerned these cases could affect women coming forward and advocating for other women.

The coalition is committed to continuing to advocate for equality for all Yukon women through various initiatives. In the past year, the coalition has worked closely with Yukon RCMP, Family and Children’s Services and the Department of Justice to strengthen response services to women who have experienced violence. We’ve advocated for changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act to allow victims of violence to terminate or take over leases and to improve the administration of social assistance by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

As women serving non-government agencies, we often go past our mandates so the women and children we serve do not fall through the cracks. We would like to see the many gaps that directly affect women addressed. Women’s shelters in Yukon provide safe spaces for women in Yukon. The federal government has slated funds to women’s shelter and the number of women and children that access women’s shelters in Yukon is increasing. Yet we have not seen any funding increase to address the increasing demand.

We need to support organizations that help women in the Yukon like Safe Place, which is the only afterhours service provided to women regardless of whether they are intoxicated. We need a transitional home specifically for women leaving the correctional centre. We need more support for children aging out of care who often ultimately suffer on the streets, victimized because they have nowhere to go, and are not aware of services they can access. We need to increase access to mental health services and ensure these supports are culturally relevant.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women cannot be delayed further and actions to address this issue need to be identified and implemented now more than ever.

Locally, the coalition looks forward to collaborating with Yukon government to enhance services for victims of violence. We feel encouraged and hopeful to see how the commitments focused on health and wellness, outlined in the recent territorial budget, are carried out. We know from experience that true, systemic change requires commitment and sustainable policy action along with an increase in funding to create new positions and enhance existing services.

Women seeking safety or support can access: Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the A Safe Place Drop-in program.

They can also contact or go to the Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society, open 24/7. The crisis line can be reached at 668-5733.

Women who need help with legal issues can access the Women’s Legal Advocate at the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If anyone has information about the deaths of Sarah MacIntosh and Wendy Margaret Carlick, please contact Yukon RCMP. Anonymous information can be provided to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 and the Kwanlin Dün tip line at 867-456-8477.

Members of the Yukon Women’s Coalition:

Yukon Women in Trades and Technology

Les EssentiElles

Dawson Women’s Shelter

Help and Hope for Families: Watson Lake Transition Home

Yukon Status of Women Council

Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre

Public Service Alliance Canada Yukon regional women’s committee and Yukon Aboriginal people’s committee

Women’s Legal Advocate

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