Wally Oppal's long-awaited report on the missing women is out and aptly titled Forsaken.
According to Oppal, the missing and murdered women were forsaken twice, "once by society at large and again by the police," and subsequent police investigations were "blatant failures."
This we knew already, in fact, that's why community groups and family members of the murdered and missing were pushing for an inquiry in the first place.
One of Oppal's recommendations is that the provincial government fund an additional full-time sex trade liaison officer position in the Lower Mainland.
According to WISH, which runs a drop-in centre for Downtown Eastside prostitutes, women on the streets are still facing harassment, theft, rape and strangulation.
These women don't go to the police for a variety of reasons, but a key factor is their relationship with law enforcement.
That relationship was most certainly informed by the "discrimination, systemic institutional bias, and political and public indifference," Oppal outlines in his report.
So while more liaison officers would help, a deeper attitudinal change needs to happen with the police. That's why we welcome recommendations that officers receive anti-oppression training to overcome their biases.
When serial killer Robert Pickton selected his victims from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, he went after the most vulnerable: women who were addicts, prostitutes and disproportionately aboriginal. He relied on police bias and societal indifference to get away with butchering women for years.
The police have admitted they screwed up and they've said sorry, but the authenticity of that apology will be proven when we see some real behavioural changes.
It may be too late for Pickton's victims, but we welcome meaningful action to help the women who are still facing attacks on our most impoverished streets. For them, help can't come soon enough.
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