Children’s representative says ministry is 'fundamentally responsible' for sex assault victim in RCMP video - APTN NewsAPTN News

Children’s representative says ministry is ‘fundamentally responsible’ for sex assault victim in RCMP video


Holly Moore, Laurie Hamelin, Brittany Hobson
APTN News
British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth said her office will be closely following the province’s Ministry of Children and Family Development’s (MCFD) response to over-represented Indigenous youth in care in the wake of a disturbing RCMP video.

“My first reaction was heartbreak and disgust but then I started having feelings of, ‘How could this happen, when did this happen and what’s the impact on the young person?’” Jennifer Charlesworth said in an interview with APTN News.

“This child was in the care of the ministry so the ministry is fundamentally responsible for that.”

APTN obtained a video of a 17-year-old Indigenous girl being interrogated for two and a half hours in 2012 after she reported a sexual assault to her foster parent.

The woman, now 24, has filed a lawsuit against the MCFD and two individual social workers saying she was punished for reporting the alleged assault. The suit alleges no “meaningful” investigation was done and that her alleged attacker was not interviewed by police.

Charlesworth said the fact that MCFD social workers were present during parts of the interview and did not intervene was disturbing.

MCFD social worker Siobhan Stynes is accused in a March 11, 2019 civil suit of characterizing the youth in the video as a habitual liar which led police to disbelieve her.

Read the first statement of claim

Former MCFD social worker Robert Riley Saunders is alleged to have siphoned off funds meant for vulnerable Indigenous clients.

Read the second statement of claim

Neither have responded to multiple requests for an interview.

Forty-five youth are now involved with Charlesworth’s office in relation to the alleged fraud at MCFD.

She said advocates are helping the youth on many levels to cope with the fallout from the alleged scheme. Some were left homeless, drug-addicted and even sexually exploited according to the statements of claim in multiple individual lawsuits and one class-action.

Read more:

‘Were you turned on by this at all?’: RCMP officer asks Indigenous youth during sexual assault report

MMIWG Inquiry head says RCMP interview video is ‘typical’ of what they heard from families and survivors

Charlesworth said she will be monitoring the ministry’s response to the video and it may become an impetus for providing compassionate early intervention for young Indigenous women.

She said her office is focusing on the number of Indigenous young women between the ages of 15 and 18 with multiple issues and concerns similar to those of the 17-year-old in the video.

“I’ve been very concerned about the well-being of a particular cohort of Indigenous young women,” she said. “So this is one child’s experience and it’s devastating but it’s actually not a unique experience.”

“It really speaks to a broader systemic and the ugly underbelly of ongoing racism and the impact of colonization.”

hmoore@aptn.ca

lhamelin@aptn.ca

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3 Responses to “Children’s representative says ministry is ‘fundamentally responsible’ for sex assault victim in RCMP video”

  1. f***********@gmail.com'
    Chris Bird June 16, 2019 at 10:20 am #

    The BC Ministry of Children and Family Development has grown corrupt due to lack of oversight. The ministry enforces archaic rules designed in the 70s and 80s for the now less common nuclear family through institutionalized parental alienation. Mcfd’s mandate needs to be changed from one that separates families to one that combats the epidemic of familial alienation that is being encouraged by current policies. Acts of authority by the ministry should require civilian oversight. Tools of community funding should be separated from tools of enforcement. Sexist propaganda, displays, and delivery of services should be banned from ministry supported organisations, and an internal revue is never enough oversight for such authority. Other authority figures carry registration with their respective proffessional bodies. All authority figures employed by the ministry should be required to carry registration with their appropriate proffessional regulatory bodies (ie bc college of social workers).

  2. m********@live.ca'
    Blacktiger May 23, 2019 at 10:24 pm #

    Please keep this in the public eye. The man in the video should have his job taken away, he is horrible.

  3. c**************@gmail.com'
    Clavio Let May 22, 2019 at 3:56 pm #

    Are the MCFD employees named in the suit actually social workers with social work degrees?