Significant Work Remains on Murdered and Missing Women Recommendations
Prince George, B.C. – It has been four years since the Murdered and Missing Women Commission Inquiry report “Forsaken” was released and while there has been some progress, the Auditor General, Carol Bellringer, says there is still much to be done.The inquiry made 63 recommendations to improve safety and save lives of vulnerable women and girls in B.C. The Auditor General examined 21 of the recommendations.
Bellringer says the Province stopped reporting publicly on its progress on implementation of those recommendations in 2014, and calls on the Province to resume that practice “Because so many families and communities are impacted by these tragedies and their legacy, we feel it’s important that government once again share its progress with stakeholders and the public. The MWCI’s recommendations are still relevant, particularly with a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls underway”.
According to Bellringer’s audit the government has “achieved significant results in some areas.”
Those areas include:
- establishing a compensation fund for the children of the missing women,
- the Missing Persons Act was established and came into effect in 2015, and
- government is providing ongoing funding to WISH, an organization that provides services to women involved in sex work.
- improving access to transportation along Highway 16 and developing provincial bias-free policing standards are currently underway.
But outstanding measures remain, including developing a protocol to help women involved in sex work, who have an outstanding warrant, feel more comfortable reporting violence to the authorities, or enhanced ongoing support for the family members of those currently missing, and those who are looking to heal as a result of the loss of a family member.
Bellringer notes there are challenges, such as funding and stakeholder engagement which are impacting the government’s progress on the recommendations.
“There is still significant work to be done, and regular public reporting will set the foundation for meaningful engagement and collaboration between the provincial government and stakeholders going forward” says Bellringer.
The call for renewed progress reports is the only recommendation made by Bellringer.