Nunavumi Angnait Katujiqatigigit

Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association

ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥ ᐊᕐᓇᐃᑦ ᑲᑐᔾᔨᖃᑎᒌᖏᑦ

Amautiit launches No Excuse for Child Abuse Poster Campaign

Today marks the launch of the Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association’s (Amautiit) No Excuse for Child Abuse poster campaign across the territory, partnering with the Qulliit Status of Women, and Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association on the project – with Artwork from Charlotte Karetak.  The poster promotes the rights of children to be safe and grow up without threats of violence and harm.

The Auditor General of Canada’s 2023 Child and Family Services in Nunavut Report stated “this report describes a crisis.”  Auditor “concluded that the Department of Family Services consistently failed to take action to protect and support the well-being of vulnerable children, youth, and their families in accordance with legislation, policy, and program requirements.”  The Arctic Children and Youth Foundation (ACYC) has also labeled the territory’s high rate of child sexual abuse as a crisis.

Statistics from 2021 show that Nunavut youth experience abuse at a rate that is 10x higher than the national average. According to an annual report by the Representative of Children and Youth there are 471 registered sexual offenders in the territory in 2021-22, and 54% of sexual offences committed during that period, 259 in total, were registered sexual offenses against children and/or youth. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection reports that upwards of 93% of child/youth abuse cases are never reported to the police or a child welfare agency, such as Family Services. An alarming percentage when considered beside the estimated 104 reported cases to Family Services in 2019-2020.

The experience of the victims of child abuse does not remain in childhood. The two most important findings of 2013 study researchers at the McGill Group for Suicide Studies and McGill’s Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montréal, Quebec, are that mental illness is a substantial risk factor for suicide among Inuit, and that sexual and physical abuse have a serious impact on mental health. The study demonstrated that 47.5% of the 120 individuals represented in the study experienced some form of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse in their childhood, compared to the control group (27.5%). These statistics are in line with the data collected from the Inuit National Health Survey, 2007-2008, which reported 41% of respondents experiencing sexual abuse during childhood.

“The link between childhood sexual and physical abuse and over-arching risk for suicide is something that is very pronounced in the study and it reinforces our concern about these topics,” stated Natan Obed, then director of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s Department of Social and Cultural Development.

Child sexual abuse, family violence and high suicide rates are ongoing challenges which require a constant, focussed response. By working with partner organizations, we can address the causes of these challenges and, in the meantime, provide adequate assistance for the victims and their families.

Pauktuutit supports Amautiit’s ‘No Excuse for Child Abusecampaign, which encourages the right of children in the territory to grow in a safe environment without violence and harm,” says Gerri Sharpe, President. “It is vitally important to keep our children safe.” Amautiit hopes that the launch of this campaign will serve as a reminder to all Inuit to speak up and speak out against child abuse of any kind.

Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing self-determination for Nunavut Arnait [Inuit women] in all areas of life.

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Click here to download posters in English, French, and Inuktitut