Crime rates against women and girls in Northern SK highest in the country
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 17, 2019
A 33-year-old woman from the Beardy's and Okemasis Cree Nation was found dead in a vehicle on the reserve on July 6th.
Police said roughly six o’clock that morning, they responded to a report of a damaged van. It had some minor front-end damage, after it was lodged in the trees in a wooded area.
Jessica Cameron was found dead in the front passenger seat while her partner Jamie Smallchild, 25, was in the driver's seat with minor injuries, say the RCMP.
After police reported what they considered to be inconsistencies between the injuries of the occupants and the damage to the van Rosthern RCMP, RCMP Major Crime Unit South, Saskatoon RCMP Forensic Identification Section and Prince Albert RCMP Traffic Reconstruction continued the investigation.
Smallchild was charged with second degree murder on July 7th.
A funeral for Cameron was held July 16 at the Veterans Memorial Hall on Beardy’s and Okemasis Cee Nation and those who attended wore red as a symbol of awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, or purple for domestic violence awareness.
Her death comes only days after Statistics Canada (StatsCan) revealed their newest numbers showing that crime rates against young women and girls in northern Saskatchewan are highest in the country.
StatsCan released their newest number on July 4th showing that in 2017 violence against women and girls ages 24 and younger was highest in northern Saskatchewan (13,886 victims per 100,000 people) than anywhere else in the country. These numbers prove to be five times higher than in southern Saskatchewan.
StatsCan said in their report this could be because the geographical remoteness could cause issues to accessing victim services and escaping violence.
The study also showed that national average of violent crimes against young females in Northern Canada was 3,643 victims per 100,000 which was nearly twice as high as rates against young men and boys in the north at 2,090 per 100,000.
According to the same study 44 per cent of violent crime against young females was committed by intimate partners, while 20 per cent as by other family members.
For this reason, Saskatchewan has implemented Bill 141 - The Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol Act, or Clare’s Law, after it passed its third reading in legislation on May 2nd.
Bill 141 would allow police officers to release information about someone’s violent or abusive history to intimate partners whose safety may be in question.
Upon being fully implemented, it would create a proper framework and standardized process for the disclosure of information to applicants who believe they may be at risk from an intimate partner under a “right to ask” basis, under a “right to know” basis.
The process would involve a multi-sector review panel, which will provide recommendations on potential disclosures. The police service will then make the decision to when or if to disclose information. Bill 141 will be fully implemented later this year.
Clare’s Law was implemented across England and Wales in March 2014 and is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her abusive ex-partner in February of 2009.