Guide aims to help Nunavut women deal with domestic violence

The YWCA/Aggvik Society has released a new guide that gives women the basic information they need to cope with domestic violence and seek legal aid if necessary.

YWCA/Aggvik Society consulted elder when writing handbook

The YWCA chapter in Nunavut is hoping a new handbook will help women dealing with domestic violence learn how to seek legal aid — and cope with the difficulties.

The YWCA/Aggvik Society, which runs the women's shelter in Apex and the women's homeless shelter in Iqaluit, revealed the newly published manual Friday morning in the city.

It's meant to give tips for women in Nunavut, who live in a territory with the highest rates of domestic violence in the country. 

Elder Ida Atagoyuk was consulted when the YWCA/Aggvik Society was making the handbook. (CBC)

"Even before the women reach the shelter, how can we take more preventative measures as a community so this violence happens less often?" said Ida Atagoyuk, an elder who was consulted for the handbook. "This has been a major topic during our discussions." 

A report released by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI)​ last week, says Nunavut's crime rate has more than doubled between 1999 and 2012, while Canada's national rate has declined.

The report also says 40 percent of Inuit adults living in Nunavut have experienced severe sexual abuse as children. That includes 1 in 2 Inuit women.

The YWCA/Aggvik Society says its new manual will help women find ways to cope and get legal aid. 

"This manual provides basic information in the area of custody and access to matrimonial property so shelter workers and community support people can know where they are, and can then support women that are facing this system," said Aline Nizigama, who's with YMCA Canada.

This afternoon, the YWCA/Aggvik Society is holding a celebration to mark the launch of the handbook. It's hosting a community feast and concert at Inukshuk High School.