R v A(M), 2020 NUCJ 04

An Inuk woman received absolute discharge for breaching no-alcohol bail condition when she had called RCMP for help in domestic violence situation. The Justice of the Peace noted systemic issues Inuit women face as victims, including disproportionate rates of victimization, distrust of police and lack of social services; a disturbingly similar case one year prior, and did not want to send a message to Inuit women to “call at your own peril”.

Indigenous Law Centre
Indigenous CaseWatch Blog

In 2018, A(M), an Inuk woman, who was placed on no-alcohol bail conditions, called police as she was facing a domestic violence situation. When police arrived, however, she was arrested for breaching her bail condition because she was found intoxicated.

Despite entering a guilty plea to the charge, she was sentenced to an absolute discharge for this offence. This case troubling, especially because it is nearly identical to another case, R v K(M), exactly one year prior, where K, also an Inuk woman who had pleaded guilty to breaching her bail for drinking when she was not supposed to. K called the police because she was being assaulted by her boyfriend, and was severely beaten and then held in custody to appear before the court.

In considering both cases of these women who are victims of violence, A(M)’s significant Gladue factors and the Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the work of Pauktuutit, the Qulliq status of women, among other reports, there cannot be “institutional indifference”. Inuit women should never feel like they must hesitate to call the police for assistance in Nunavut.

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