The total number of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada is greater than prior public estimates, and RCMP are pledging to immediately undertake new efforts to address the issue and quell growing public concern.
Between 1980 and 2013, 1,017 aboriginal Canadian females were killed in homicides, and 164 were declared missing, states a national operational overview report released by the national police force this morning.
The official tally stands at a grim 1,181.
Currently, there are 225 unsolved murdered and missing cases, according to the report.
Of these, 105 are missing persons cases of aboriginal females missing for more than 30 days as of November 30, 2013.
The remainder (120 cases) are unsolved homicides, the report notes.
"This report concludes that the total number of murdered and missing aboriginal females exceeds previous public estimates," the report states. "The total indicates that aboriginal women are over-represented among Canada's murdered and missing women."
Since 1980, the total number of females killed overall has trended downwards while homicides of aboriginal females increased, RCMP say.
In Manitoba, there are 20 unsolved homicides of aboriginal females and 12 related missing persons cases.
Only B.C. and Alberta have more unsolved killings on the books, with 36 and 28 respectively.
That said, RCMP note the solve rate for homicides of aboriginal females in Manitoba stands at the national average 90 per cent, putting the province ahead of Quebec (87 per cent), Alberta (86 per cent) and B.C. (82 per cent).
That number only increases by one percentage point for non-aboriginal women, the report notes.
The dense report also outlines homicide offender characteristics, common locations of deaths and how the deaths occurred.
Sixty-three per cent of aboriginal females killed in Canada since 1980 were beaten or stabbed.
They were most often killed by acquaintances, followed closely by spouses, the report states.
More than 90 per cent of the women killed had a prior relationship of some kind with their killers.
An argument or quarrel was the leading factor influencing the killing of an aboriginal woman or girl in 40 per cent of all their cases, RCMP said.
The data in the report was sourced from all police jurisdictions from across Canada and cross-referenced with Statistics Canada, according to Assistant Commissioner Janice Armstrong, officer in charge of aboriginal and contract policing for the RCMP.
Top police officials are holding a press conference to discuss the report this morning. The Free Press will update this story.