Advancing Gender Equality Issues

Addressing Family Violence in the Northwest Territories

Family violence is an important issue that deeply impacts all communities in the north.

According to Statistics Canada, the Northwest Territories ranks second in Canada for its rates of family violence. Recognizing the urgency of this situation, the Gender Equity Division, operating under the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs, was mandated to spearhead initiatives to combat family violence. This culminated in the development of a strategic framework, titled "Reclaiming the Capable Person: We Are All Capable Persons When We Have Community," which was tabled in the NWT Legislative Assembly on October 4, 2023.

As part of the development of the strategic framework, the Gender Equity Division embarked on extensive community consultations including engaging stakeholders in one-on-one discussions. This encompassed outreach to community partners, including shelters, frontline service providers, and various government and non-government departments. Additionally, the Division undertook a thorough review of strategies and practices from other jurisdictions.

The insights and feedback from these discussions were consolidated into a "What We Heard Report," which was shared with all participants.

The GNWT also commissioned the Aurora Research Institute to produce a three-part research series.

  1. Exploring Strategies to Reduce Family Violence in the Northwest Territories: A Scoping Review
  2. Local, National and International Family Violence Directions, Practices and Considerations for the Northwest Territories: A Jurisdictional Review
  3. Community Wisdom: Creating a Comprehensive Approach to End Family Violence in the Northwest Territories

This series provided actionable insights and recommendations for a comprehensive GNWT approach to family violence, emphasizing best practices, coordinated efforts, and the identification of key investment areas for the upcoming years.

Looking ahead, the Gender Equity Division will continue to collaborate with GNWT departments to develop detailed action and implementation plans. These plans will focus on refining existing programs and pinpointing new initiatives for rollout, marking a significant stride in the GNWT's commitment to addressing and ultimately eradicating family violence in the territory.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is deeply committed to a collaborative approach in reducing family violence across the territory. Recognizing the profound systemic roots underpinning the high rates of family violence, the GNWT is dedicated to initiating transformative change. The complexity and severity of family violence in the NWT demand a unified, multi-sectorial strategy that echoes the voices of Northerners and aims for collective healing.