Resources for Indigenous Victims (4:XI)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 4, 2023.

Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in Canada’s criminal justice system as victims of crime. Per Statistics Canada, Indigenous people are twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to have been victims of violent crime. This disproportionate rate of victimization has been linked to the repercussions of long-lasting colonization and systemic racism, such as residential schools and interaction with the child welfare system. These policies have resulted in intergenerational trauma, as well as the disruption of community and family structures – all of which are linked to violent victimization of Indigenous people.

The overrepresentation of Indigenous victims extends to homicide victims. For the period from 2015 to 2020, the rates of homicides involving an Indigenous victim was six times higher than the rate of homicides involving non-indigenous victims. Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people in particular are most at risk of violent victimization. This ultimately led to a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in which the findings were published in Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

A. Resources

1. Indigenous Victim Services/The Native Courtworker Program

The Native Courtworker program has Indigenous Victim Services workers who provide culturally sensitive services to Indigenous victims of violence to lessen the trauma and assist in the recovery associated with being a victim of crime through the provision of counselling, support, information, referrals, and practical assistance by:

  • Providing emotional and cultural support specific to clients’ unique needs and concerns.
  • Developing and supporting comprehensive individualized safety plans.
  • Working collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team including team meetings with police, community-based victim services, NCCABC Family Advocate, housing agencies, transition homes, MCFD, and other key partners.
  • Maintaining contact and network with other community services providers and criminal justice system personnel and to provide a referral base for clients; providing community outreach and public education to promote awareness regarding victims’ issues and victim services.
  • Assisting in completing and submitting forms including Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) applications, Victim Impact Statements, BC Housing applications and registration with the Victim Safety Unit.
  • Providing information and orientation regarding the Criminal Justice system and roles of key parties.
  • Maintaining integrity and hold confidentiality as a Victim Services Worker, while collaborating with systems with differing mandates and perspectives.

2. Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre

Salal’s no cost Indigenous Counselling Program provides short to mid-term one-to-one counselling for Indigenous people of marginalized genders. Including trans and cis women, trans men, non-binary, and Two Spirit individuals (peoples) seeking health, safety, and wellbeing

Provides support in processing the impacts of sexualized violence, intergenerational trauma, residential school, MMIWG2S+, and loss of children and provides access to traditional healing, knowledge and medicines.

3. Aboriginal Legal Aid BC

This organization aims to help Aboriginal peoples in BC understand their legal rights by providing free legal information and connecting communities to legal support. They follow the lead of their Indigenous Services division, who work to meet the legal needs of Aboriginal peoples in BC through innovative and culturally informed legal aid services.

4. Indigenous Community Legal Clinic

The Indigenous Community Legal Clinic (ICLC) is an educational legal clinic of the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia that provides legal services to the Indigenous community.

The ICLC may be able to provide advice, assistance and representation to eligible clients who cannot afford a lawyer and who self-identify as Indigenous persons.

5. Residential Historical Abuse Program

The Residential Historical Abuse Program provides professional counselling services for BC residents who were abused while under the age of 19 and while living in a home or residential program operated or funded by the province. A counsellor who meets provincial standards will develop a personal treatment plan with the victim, which may include individual, group, or family counselling. The victim does not have to prove that they were sexually, physically, or mentally abused to receive counselling services, nor does they have to name the person(s) who abused them. The Ministry will simply verify that they were in that particular residential program at the time of the offence(s). No police complaint is necessary, but there is a legal obligation to report abuses to appropriate authorities if children are still at risk of being sexually abused. The government or the police may contact the victim for information. The contents of the application are otherwise confidential. The application process is simple and generally does not impede any legal action or application to the CVAP – although if the applicant is eligible for funding from another source for a same or similar purpose, the CVAP must deduct that funding (or those counselling sessions) when considering the application.

6. Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provides health support services to survivors, family members, and those affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. ISC facilitates access to mental health counselling, emotional support, community based cultural supportservices and some assistance with transportation costs.

To access supports in BC, call: 1-877-477-0775 or visit Health support services

© Copyright 2023, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.