In Canada, official statistics have consistently documented at the national level what is highlighted above in the Intimate Femicide in Ontario study: Indigenous women are significantly more likely to be killed by male partners than non-Indigenous women in Canada.
For instance, in 2015 Statistics Canada reported that for Indigenous women aged 15 to 24, the rate of intimate partner homicide was 2.8 times greater than the rate for non-Indigenous women, which means that in Canada, Indigenous women had a rate of 3.8 for every 100,000 Indigenous women, compared with a rate of 1.0 for every 100,000 non-Indigenous women.
For Indigenous women between the ages of 25 and 34, the rate was even higher at 5.4 for every 100,000 Indigenous women, compared with 2.3 for every 100,000 non-Indigenous women.
In fact, Indigenous women and girls are overrepresented as victims of femicide more generally. For example, about four percent of the Canadian population is Indigenous and female yet they represented 24 percent of homicide victims in 2015.
"The reality is that Indigenous women are disproportionately represented as victims of murder, particularly female-on-female violence, and also face high rates of sexual assault and violence at the hands of non-Indigenous men and boys," says Rachael Marks, a criminologist at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., who studies gender and crime.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2017 there were 522 homicides in Canada that were classified as violent or other deaths with intent to cause injury or death. That same year, StatsCan reports, the homicide rate for Indigenous people was five times higher than the national average. The number of homicide victims among Indigenous women increased by 2.7 per cent from 2016 to 3. A significant proportion of those crimes — 41 per cent — involved sexual assault or exploitation.
Indigenous women are more likely than non-Indigenous women to be murdered or die in a domestic or family violence situation. In her research, Dr. Marks has found that the risk factors for Indigenous women include substance use; mental health issues; intimate partner violence; and experiences of child or elder abuse.
Regardless, it is now recognized, most recently in the inquiry's interim report, that the high risk of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls stems, in large part, from a failure of police and others in the criminal justice system to adequately respond to, or provide for, the needs of Indigenous women and girls.