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BCCLA declares victory on child sex testing

The BCCLA declared victory for children in B.C. after the province announced the cancellation of the penile plethysmograph research program at the Youth Forensic Psychiatric Service of B.C., a branch of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

As of yesterday, following a complaint filed by the BCCLA, the province had announced only a temporary suspension while the program was investigated by the Child and Youth Representative of B.C. Today at noon the Minister announced that the program had been scrapped entirely.

“The province has acted in the best interests of our youth in cancelling this very invasive and concerning program,” said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. “With this precedent in hand, the BCCLA will continue our work to make sure this program is not resurrected, is ended across Canada, and that whatever ethical protocol deemed this research appropriate for vulnerable youth is amended immediately.”

Male children as young as 13 who were ordered to participate in sex offence treatment by a court had been routinely required to connect a device to their penises while they viewed images of nude and semi nude children and infants. At the same time, recordings of narratives of forced and coercive sex with individuals that matched the images were played for the children. The testing was engaged in by the Youth Forensic Psychiatric Service of B.C. as part of a larger research project.

“We thank our partners at Justice for Girls for working with us to achieve the end of this testing that never should have been approved in the first place,” said Holmes. “We are asking the Child and Youth Representative to continue her investigation to ensure accountability around how this testing and research was approved, in order to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

Click here to read the BCCLA’s and Justice for Girls’ release and complaint

Robert Holmes, President, 604-838-6856
David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997