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BC’s child and youth advocate to investigate child sex testing

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The BCCLA and Justice for Girls are glad to hear that the provincial advocate for children and youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is investigating problematic sexual testing of youth in the criminal justice system.

The decision to suspend testing and investigate comes in reply to concerns raised by the two organizations after they sounded the alarm on the use of the “penile plethysmograph” and narratives of forced sexual encounters on children who have been convicted of sexual crimes.

“This is the only decision that could have been made given the content of the testing and the implications for youth,” said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. “We are pleased to hear that this independent representative is investigating this problematic testing, and that the province has stepped in to stop any more children from being subjected to it.”

Children who are ordered to participate in sex offence treatment by a court have been required to view images of nude and semi nude children and infants while being read narratives of forced and coercive sex with individuals that match the images by researchers working for the province as testing associated with youth sex offender treatment.

“We are very relieved that they have suspended the use of these abusive tests. We welcome an independent investigation and hope that it will not only address the specific harms of these tests, but also include a comprehensive review of the ethics surrounding all assessments, treatment, and research carried out by Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services” said Justice For Girls Director Annabel Webb.

The BCCLA calls on Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak to confirm that the Representative for Children and Youth will be provided with all necessary resources and support for her investigation and report and that the suspension will remain in place at the very least until the report has been made public and a thorough public review and discussion of the issue has been held.

The BCCLA and Justice for Girls will be following the investigation closely.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Robert Holmes, President, 604-838-6856
David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997
Annabel Webb, Director, Justice for Girls, 604 689-7887