Saskatchewan senator introduces bill for missing and murdered aboriginal women
Senator Lillian Dyck’s bill would make being an aboriginal female victim an aggravating circumstance
A Saskatchewan senator has introduced a bill to help protect aboriginal women and girls.
Senator Lillian Dyck spoke to Bill S-215: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent offences against Aboriginal women) at second reading in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
The bill would amend the Criminal Code to make being an aboriginal female victim an aggravating circumstance for the offences of murder, assault, and sexual assault.
That means that the court system would be required to take aboriginal female identity into account during sentencing.
A press release from Senator Dyck's office explained that making the measure mandatory eliminates bias against the victim, ensuring her case will not be treated as less serious in nature compared to any other female.
"Amending the criminal code in this manner sends a strong signal that Canadian society as a whole values all women and girls, whether or not they are Aboriginal," the statement said, adding it will also act as a deterrent for future crimes against aboriginal women.
A 2014 RCMP report found that aboriginal women and girls are three times more likely to go missing and four times more likely to be murdered compared to other Canadian females.
A member of the Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan, Dyck has been a senator since 2005.