The government of Saskatchewan launched a new initiative yesterday, which aims to provide supports, information, and services to the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Saskatchewan’s Family Information Liaison Unit (FILU) is now open and providing services to families, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice announced. Ministry Spokesperson Noel Busse said the FILU is a dedicated unit that works with both families and communities to help them navigate the criminal justice system and other agencies, and connect them with much-needed supports.
“The unit was created to aid people who contact the government,” Busse told paNOW. “The justice system, it can be intimidating for some people. The goal is to help guide people through that.”
Busse said the new unit is not directly associated with the ongoing national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Rather, he said, the unit’s mandate is to help all families, even if they choose not to tell their stories publicly.
“It’s not part of the inquiry, but it’s designed to help people who come forward,” he said. “It’s available to all families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, whether or not they choose to participate in the inquiry.”
In addition to helping families navigate the complexities of the justice system, Busse said the FILU will also help them gather information relevant to their cases from various government agencies. The unit will also help families connect with counselling services and other supports, he said, to help them cope with the pain and trauma of a missing or murdered family member.
“The unit’s also working closely with Indigenous and Métis organizations to ensure families are getting cultural support [and] access to Elders,” Busse said.
Attorney General and Justice Minister Don Morgan said he was happy to see more supports offered to suffering Saskatchewan families.
“These families are experiencing a deep loss,” Morgan said in a statement. “The assistance we can provide in navigating the legal system and multiple organizations who hold information will hopefully ease the stress of their situation.”
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