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

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

Seventy-four international students are expected to come to Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district for the last half of the 2020021 school year, says the district. (School District 68 image)
Nanaimo school district educating 160 international students during pandemic school year

Fifty-seven students from abroad arrived Jan. 14-18, says SD68

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Nanaimo RCMP investigated after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Woodgrove Centre, Nanaimo RCMP investigating

Officers have searched areas of the mall accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

Vancouver Island University. (File photo)
Province announces funding for VIU to train mental health workers

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

The City of Nanaimo’s Community Services Building at 285 Prideaux St., where the 7-10 Club is located, will host a warming centre seven days a week through March 31. (City of Nanaimo photo)
Warming centres for people experiencing homelessness open today in Nanaimo

City of Nanaimo and social agencies partnering on Wallace and Prideaux locations

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read