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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council National theme: One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Provincial theme: Joyfully Serving the Lord

RESOLUTION BC 2012.01


Community Life

BC & Yukon Provincial Council

BC 2012.01 Protection and Care of Sexually Exploited Children

Whereas child-appropriate detoxification and counselling services and independent, supportive housing options do not exist in British Columbia for sexually exploited children, and

Whereas the vast majority of sexually exploited children are drug and/or alcohol addicted, and

Whereas the government and the people of British Columbia are legally responsible for the protection and care of sexually exploited children, therefore, be it

Resolved that the BC & Yukon Provincial Council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada urge the Government of British Columbia to provide a safe, supportive residence that:

a) is specifically designed for sexually exploited children, and

b) provides a continuum of integrated services that includes child appropriate detoxification, counseling and stabilization.

Community Life

BC & Yukon Provincial Council

BRIEF:

2012.01 Protection and Care of Sexually Exploited Children

In British Columbia there are no child appropriate detoxification and counseling services and few, if any, independent, supportive housing options for sexually exploited children. Those under 16 years of age fall under the auspice of Social Welfare and foster care (Child Family and Community Services Act Part 1, Part 2.1, 12.1). Those over 16 years of age have access to adult services.

The British Columbia Child Protection Act (Child Family & Community Services Act Part 1 Guiding Principles 2) states “This Act must be interpreted and administered so that the safety and well-being of children are the paramount considerations and in accordance with the following principles: a) children are entitled to be protected from abuse, neglect and harm or threat of harm;…”

The Act (Child Family & Community Services Act Part 3, Div. 1-13) also states in part that a child needs protection if:

• a child has been sexually exploited

• a child is deprived of necessary health care

• and/or a child is emotionally harmed

While most street youth do not become involved in prostitution, the great majority of those who do are far more likely to become active substance abusers. (Sexual Exploitation of Youth in British Columbia Section III.12)

Sexual exploitation occurs when children trade sexual activities for money, drugs, gifts, food, services or anything similar. The average age children are first exploited is between 13 and 15 years of age. Up to 1 in 3 reported first being sexually exploited before age 14. (It’s Not What You Think-UBC School of Nursing Study p. 12 & p. 22)

Studies commissioned by the British Columbia government (BC Government Asst. Deputy Minister Report: Sexual Exploitation of Youth in BC 11.8 & 11.9) clearly illustrate that our Province lacks the necessary services as described below:

a) Detoxification and treatment beds specifically for youth

One of the biggest gaps in services is access to alcohol and drug detoxification, treatment and counseling specific to children. Children currently placed in detoxification are often re-victimized by adult males.

b) Mental health services

Many of these children have serious mental health issues that are undiagnosed.

c) Safe, supportive, residential environment specifically designed for sexually exploited children.

Foster care does not work for these children. They need independent living with support and supervision in which to receive a continuum of care.

There is no clear exit route for these children. Service providers need to be able to provide an integrated continuum of services that include child-appropriate detoxification, counseling and stabilization within a safe environment (Senate Committee on Human Rights Study: The Sexual Exploitation of Children in Canada: the Need for National Action p. 60)

The Government of British Columbia as our representative has the responsibility to protect and care for children, especially the most vulnerable. We urge the Government of British Columbia to take immediate action to provide protection and the necessary care as indicated herein for the sexually exploited children of this Province.

RESOURCES:

2012.01 Protection and Care of Sexually Exploited Children

Child, Family, and Community Service Act (pdf) (RSBC 1996) Chapter 46

www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_96046_01

Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Committee Report on Prostitution and the Sexual Exploitation of Youth in British Columbia

www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/youth/pdf/sex_exploit.pdf

It’s Not What You Think: Sexually Exploited Youth in British Columbia

University of BC School of Nursing Report

www.nursing.ubc.ca/pdfs/ItsNotWhatYouThink.pdf

Sexual Exploitation of Children in Canada: the Need for National Action

Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights -The Hon. Mobina Jaffer, Chair

www.parl.gc.ca-Content-SEN/Committee/411/ridr/rep/rep03nov11-e.pdf

ACTION PLAN:

1. Write letters, send Emails, or phone your local MLA to support this resolution.

Note:

All the backup material pertains to the province of BC, however, we encourage Yukon members to research what is provided by their territorial government in order to act on this resolution.


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