Indigenous women say they’re still afraid of the Sûreté du Québec

La Presse Canadienne Published Thursday, October 17, 2019 10:57AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, October 17, 2019 12:07PM EDT

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MONTREAL -- Four years after the allegations of abuse in Val-d'Or, some Indigenous women say they’re still afraid to leave their homes for fear of running into police officers from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).

Édith Cloutier, executive director of the Val-d'Or Native Friendship Centre, spoke of the women's fear Thursday as First Nations representatives prepare to meet the provincial government in Quebec City.

She demanded an apology from the police force but said the minister responsible for native affairs, Sylvie D'Amours, has not taken any steps to fulfill the request.

Radio-Canada reported in 2015 that at least a dozen Indigenous women said they had been sexually abused by SQ officers stationed in Val-d'Or, about 600 km north of Montreal.

The allegations led to the creation of the Viens Commission, which was mandated to investigate relations between Indigenous people and public services in the province.

On Sept. 30, the commission concluded that Indigenous people in Quebec have suffered from various forms of systemic discrimination.

This report by La Presse Canadienne was first published Oct. 17, 2019.

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