Feds pledge $10 million to find missing women
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 29, 2010 1:46PM PDT
The federal government is spending $10 million on measures to help find missing women, including setting up a new central missing persons co-ordination centre.
Hundreds of First Nations women are either missing or the victims of unsolved murders across the country.
"The disturbing issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is one of serious concern," said Minister for Status of Women Rona Ambrose in announcing the measures. "Our plan will provide new tools for law enforcement and improve the justice system and victims' services."
She said the government is taking a national approach to the issue with the creation of a new police support centre for missing persons in Ottawa.
In addition, the government is beefing up the Canadian Police Information Centre database with extra information about people who are missing and setting up an Internet tip site for missing person cases.
"But I think most importantly, other than the sharing of the information across the different layers and jurisdictions, is the victims services support programs," Ambrose said.
The government is promising money for what it calls "culturally appropriate" victim services across the country as well as funding for aboriginal groups to help the families of missing and murdered women.
It will also help develop safety plans and awareness programs for aboriginal women.
The moves come after the B.C. government announced an inquiry into the police investigations involving dozens of women who vanished from Vancouver's Downtown East Side, several of whom became victims of serial killer Robert Pickton.
Eighteen other women have either been murdered or disappeared in recent years along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in northern B.C., a route that has been dubbed the Highway of Tears.