Get better data about Gender Based Violence in the Yukon so we can implement strategies that work for our unique needs in the Territory.
What is the challenge?
To effectively solve big challenges like gender-based violence (GBV) we need to get accurate information about how many people experience the problem, who causes the problem, who exactly experiences it, the ways in which differently people experience the same problem, the resources that currently exist to solve the problem, and the barriers that get in the way of those working to solve the problem. It’s also important to know the severity, intensity, frequency and context of gender-based violence.
When we have this information we can create tools, programs, and solutions for each community that are effective in preventing and putting an end to gender-based violence. When we don’t have access to data, it’s far more likely that solutions we implement will not address the problem and can result in wasting millions of dollars without any sense of whether our actions are effective in addressing the problem. It also means that some solutions that are prescribed become impossible to implement. An example of this is requiring mining companies to monitor gender-based violence levels in the communities that they operate in and to take action to mitigate it. Without access to data that identifies the size of the problem and data to indicate whether mitigative actions have had a positive impact in addressing the problem or made things worse, this task is impossible.
When it comes to gender-based violence in the territories, we have very little accurate data to tell us this picture. We have approximate numbers from Canada-wide surveys about the rates of violence. We know that Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people experience more violence than others, but we do not have specifics for the Yukon, or community-level data.
Why is it so hard to get data?
- Reporting of gender-based violence is inconsistent. People fear reporting for many reasons, including: not wanting to out their abuser in a small community; fear of retaliation from their abuser; no safe place to go once they report; lack of trust in the justice system; a lack of faith that reporting will achieve anything; as well as previous experience being retraumatized, revictimized and not believed within their community and the justice system.
- Sometimes people will report to front line programs like women’s centres, shelters, victim services or 3rd party reporting. But there is no system for these reports to be collected and shared consistently so that there is anonymity for the reporters but a way for the organizations to look at the big picture of what is being reported. Without firm data, it’s as though stakeholders each all have a piece of the puzzle, but no one knows what the finished picture looks like. 2SLGBTQQIA+ folks in our communities may have even fewer places to safely report abuse where they will be heard and understood.
- The data we do collect from cases that are reported is not shared. Data from the RCMP is not shared with GBV non-profits, and even when the data is shared it is not shared in a way that is effective in informing development of effective programs or policies.
- Cross-jurisdictional data is not collected in a consistent way across communities, territories, and provinces so it can’t be compared to create more wholistic solutions.
- In our colonial system data is held by institutions like the RCMP, federal, and territorial governments that hold the power to collect and gatekeep data. What data they can share is often slow, not well-communicated, and therefore, ineffective.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN:
The Yukon Status of Women Council (YSWC) has applied for funding in partnership with Yukon University to develop better data about Gender-Based Violence in the Yukon. This work is integral to ensuring that we have reliable Yukon-wide data about GBV in the Yukon and so that we can develop solutions that are specific to addressing the issue in the Yukon.
Front line GBV organizations across government, private sector and non-profits need support to create a data collection and information sharing framework across organizations and institutions that protects the rights of the people reporting, while allowing for effective data to be shared and used in the development of strategic responses to gender-based violence.
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
Call for the support of the Yukon Status of Women's data project.
Call on the RCMP and Yukon government either directly or through your MLA to change their data policies to better enable effective sharing of disaggregated data with GBV organizations.