Research Report Round-up: Perceptions of safety of Indigenous people during the COVID-19 pandemic

What you need to know

Recent studies based on crowdsourced data identified some of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous people compared to the rest of the population. This report, titled “Perceptions of Safety of Indigenous People During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” provides an overview of the perceptions of safety of Indigenous people related to the pandemic.

Researchers analyzed information gathered through two crowdsourcing initiatives in April and May, 2020. A total of 2,800 First Nations, Métis and Inuit people 15 years and older completed online questionnaires to provide a picture of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of Indigenous people and their perceptions of safety.

This Research Report Round-up presents a summary of the findings. Research Report Round-ups are brief, plain-language summaries of research reports, presented in a user-friendly format.

Read the summary below or download the PDF.

Title and link to report

Perceptions of safety of Indigenous people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Les perceptions des Autochtones à l’égard de la sécurité pendant la pandémie de COVID-19

Author(s)

Paula Arriagada, Tara Hahmann and Vivian O’Donnell for Statistics Canada

Year

August 2020

What this report is about

Recent studies based on crowdsourced data identified some of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous people compared to the rest of the population. This report, titled “Perceptions of Safety of Indigenous People During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” provides an overview of the perceptions of safety of Indigenous people related to the pandemic.

Researchers analyzed information gathered through two crowdsourcing initiatives in April and May, 2020. A total of 2,800 First Nations, Métis and Inuit people 15 years and older completed online questionnaires. The aim was to get a picture of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of Indigenous people based on their perceptions of safety.

This is the fifth report in a series that looks at the economic, social and health challenges facing Indigenous people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first four articles looked at health and social vulnerabilities in rural, remote and northern communities; vulnerabilities to socioeconomic impacts in urban areas; mental health; and employment and financial impacts.

Concerns about the impact of confinement on family stress

Among Indigenous participants, 41% said they were “very” or “extremely” concerned about the impact of pandemic-related confinement on family stress. The rate among non-Indigenous participants was 28%. This concern was expressed by almost half of Indigenous women compared to a third of Indigenous men.

Concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on violence in the home

While most participants in general said they were “not at all” concerned about violence in the home, this concern was more prevalent among Indigenous participants (11%) than non-Indigenous participants (5%). More Indigenous women were concerned about violence at home (13%) than Indigenous men (9%).

Lower sense of safety in their neighbourhood

Participants were asked if they thought crime had increased, decreased or stayed the same in their neighbourhood since the pandemic started. Among Indigenous participants, 17% believed crime had increased in their neighbourhood, while among non-Indigenous participants 11% did so. There was little difference between women and men in both groups.

Indigenous women were the least likely to feel safe when walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, with 24% of them saying they feel very safe in these situations compared to 43% of Indigenous men, 30% of non-Indigenous women, and 49% of non-Indigenous men.

Harassment or attacks related to ethnicity or skin colour

Twenty-two percent of Indigenous participants felt that people are “often” or “sometimes” harassed or attacked because of their race, ethnicity or skin colour in their neighbourhood compared to 11% of non-Indigenous participants. Differences in perceptions between Indigenous men and women were small.

About twice as many Indigenous participants than non-Indigenous participants contacted resources (excluding police) for reasons related to crime. The most commonly reported resources were counsellors, psychologists, and social workers.

Location

Ottawa

How can this report be used

This report is of use to system planners, agency leaders and service providers seeking to develop mental health programming for First Nations, Métis and Inuit clients.

Populations addressed

First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations

Keywords

Indigenous, First Nations, Métis, Inuit coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, disruption, safety, stress, anxiety, safety, vulnerable populations, mental health, economic.

Contact

Email at STATCAN [dot] infostats-infostats [dot] STATCAN [at] canada [dot] ca

Language

English and French

Acknowledgements

This knowledge exchange activity is supported by Evidence Exchange Network (EENet), which is part of the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - “CAMH”). EENet has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Ministry of Health (“MOH”). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of either MOH or of CAMH.