Yukon police review welcomed by women’s groups

The in-custody death of Raymond Silverfox has raised a lot of questions about RCMP treatment of First Nation and intoxicated people. But several other interest groups want to vent their frustrations during the upcoming review of the Yukon's police force.

The in-custody death of Raymond Silverfox has raised a lot of questions about RCMP treatment of First Nation and intoxicated people.

But several other interest groups want to vent their frustrations during the upcoming review of the Yukon’s police force, which was announced Wednesday.

Women’s groups in particular want their voices heard.

“The criminal justice system as a whole fails women who are victims of violent crime,” said Lois Moorcroft, the representative of a coalition of women’s organizations.

The RCMP can do a better job of responding to reports of sexual assault, violence against women and missing and murdered aboriginal women, said Moorcroft.

“I want women to be respected and supported when they bring charges forward,” she said.

“We know that more women choose not to report sexual assault to the police than do.”

The committee will be co-chaired by Justice deputy minister Dennis Cooley and RCMP Supt. Peter Clark.

An advisory committee will provide advice to the co-chairs on the strategic direction of the review, its engagement strategy and research agenda.

This committee is made up of representatives from First Nations, Health and Social Services, Justice, Yukon Communities, Community Services and RCMP.

Women’s groups are heavily represented with Lorraine Netro representing First Nation Women, Shauna Curtin from the women’s directorate, and Moorcroft’s.

The review is an opportunity to rebuild trust in the RCMP and the public will have a chance to make recommendations on how to improve police services.

“The review will only be credible if women, aboriginal people, youth and the many citizens who believe our police force should treat everyone with human dignity come forward and identify both their concerns and possible solutions to the problems in our communities,” said Moorcroft.

The review will be based on research and statistical information as well as public input.

The committee will review police services to citizens who are in vulnerable positions, including victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and people who are arrested and detained in custody.

It will also look at how public complaints are handled and make recommendations to enhance training.

“I’m very happy to be taking part,” said Lorraine Netro, the First Nation women’s representative.

“This is an opportunity to take part in a process where aboriginal women will have a voice.”

Contact Chris Oke at chriso@yukon-news.com

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