Source: (2002) The Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Downloaded 18 June 03.

According to the authors of this lengthy report, sexual assault is a serious problem in Canada. Men are generally the perpetrators, and women and children are generally the victims. Moreover, most sexual offenders are not strangers to their victims but family members, acquaintances, or friends. Sexual offenses cause serious, often life-long, trauma to victims, families, and communities, even when the offense does not involve extensive or persisting physical injury. While the justice system in Canada has responded with increasing severity toward sexual offenders in the last two decades, the justice system impact on the problem of sexual abuse is quite limited. In this context, it is to be noted that, for a variety of reasons, Aboriginal people are over-represented in Canada’s correctional systems, including the category of sexual offenders. The authors maintain that past attempts to reform the justice system to address better the needs and concerns of Aboriginal offenders, victims, and communities have been largely unsuccessful. It is particularly unclear whether traditional penal sanctions have had any deterrent or rehabilitative effects on the majority of Aboriginal offenders. With all of this in mind, the authors of this report cover a number of significant matters regarding Aboriginal sexual offending in Canada: sexual abuse and the legacy of residential schools; Aboriginal people and the justice system; Aboriginal sexual offending; and strategies for addressing Aboriginal offending, with emphasis on sexual offending.

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