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

Person in serious condition after potential drowning in Abbotsford

Individual airlifted after incident at a home on Tuesday afternoon

Gangster Jarrod Bacon released from prison for third time

Parole board continues to express concerns about Bacon’s behaviour

UPDATE: Charges laid after boy, 7, allegedly abducted by mom in Abbotsford

Child returned to dad in Langley, charges now laid against mom and partner

Drive-Thru Safari a success for Abbotsford Agrifair

Organizers state that over 1,250 vehicles took in the event over the weekend

Banter ice cream shop arrives in Abbotsford

Jubilee Park location has proven popular for new establishment

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read