B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)

Sexualized violence most common injury among Metis females in care: B.C. report

Metis children and youth are over-represented in care, the report says

The findings of an investigation into critical injuries and deaths among Metis youth are troubling, British Columbia’s children’s advocate says.

Jennifer Charlesworth’s report released Thursday analyzes data from 2015 to 2017 and shows sexualized violence is the most common type of injury among female children and youth.

All of those injuries reported occurred when the children were in care, the report said. Most of the children who were assaulted were between 14 and 18 years old, it said.

The children and youth who experienced critical injuries were rarely placed with Metis families and were not connected with their culture, it said.

Caregivers and families help foster connectedness for Metis children and youth in care and these “valuable” connections help them engage with their culture and learn about their cultural identities, it said.

“Historically, Metis children, youth and families, and their experiences, have been ‘rolled up’ in Indigenous data,” it said, adding this causes the children’s issues to go unaddressed.

Metis children and youth are over-represented in care, the report said.

It examined 183 injuries that were reported for 117 Metis children and youth over the three years, with 95 of the injuries occurring while they were in government care.

Suicide attempts were the second-most reported injury followed by caregiver mistreatment, the report said.

“Four of the 17 deaths of Metis children and youth that were part of this review were completed suicides,” it said.

Mental health concerns and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism or learning disabilities, were evident for those in care who experienced critical injuries, it said. The children also showed symptoms of anxiety disorder and depression, with these being more prevalent in girls, it added.

Metis are constitutionally recognized as Aboriginal people — distinct from First Nations and Inuit, the report said.

“The Metis are descendants of early relationships between First Nations women and European fur traders.”

The goal of this project, it said was to use the data to better understand outcomes and common challenges for Metis children and youth who are in care, highlight areas for improvement and create a baseline of information.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development said in a statement Thursday the report will be ”very useful” as it improves the child welfare system and works with Metis communities, partners and the federal government.

The government recognizes the need for Metis children and youth to be connected to their culture, the ministry said.

“Just as crucially, together with our partners we’ve been shifting child welfare practice to keep more children and youth out of care and safely within their families and communities,” it said.

“There’s more work to do but we’re making good progress with, overall, the lowest number of Indigenous children and youth in care, including Metis, in the last 20 years.”

Charlesworth said a second report for the same time period will be released in the coming months examining similar data relating to First Nations and non-Indigenous children and youth.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

sexual abuse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cobra Stairs in Castlegar reopen to public

A tree fell on the roof of the stairs earlier this month

West Kootenay mother searching for son missing since Sept. 1

Police are investigating the disappearance of Cory Westcott

Castlegar food bank sees increased demand for housing supports

Community Harvest Food Bank also seeing more requests from seniors

Upgrades coming for Millennium Park washroom

Features include all-season washrooms, change rooms, family rooms and outdoor showers.

Man whose crime spree began in Nelson pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for 2017 incidents

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Category 2 open burning prohibitions rescinded throughout Southeast Fire Centre

Category 3 open fires, as defined in the Wildfire Regulation, remain prohibited

Most Read