Girl in Batshaw foster home sexually abused 3 times by other children: court documents – Montreal


WARNING: This story contains graphic details.

A “severely traumatized” girl was sexually abused three times by other children over a nine-month period while in the care of a Montreal youth protection agency, according to court documents.

In his ruling, Judge Jacques Nadeau said the girl’s rights “to evolving in a safe, protective and secure environment, and of being treated in a manner that respects her personal needs, dignity, integrity and autonomy have clearly been violated in the matter at hand.”

The case also underlines a high employee turnover rate and “inappropriate clinical methods” at the Batshaw Youth Centre and Family Centres, which acts as youth protection for Montreal’s anglophone community.

READ MORE: Family escapes domestic violence, denied youth protection services in English

The girl, who is now 11, was housed at a unit overseen by Batshaw for her own protection after living in a “chaotic environment” surrounded by drugs.

Court documents show that by the time she was six years old, she had experienced physical violence, sexual abuse and neglect before she was removed from her parents’ home in 2013. The girl is described as malnourished and at one point had cigarette bruises and bruises on her body, according to the documents.

“The process of stabilizing the child will require not months but years,” reads the court documents.

After spending time in foster homes and rehabilitation centres, the girl was eventually placed in a Batshaw group home meant for children between 10 and 14 years of age who require a “high level of structure.”

The girl was nine when she was moved in 2016 to the Dorval centre.

Three incidents in nine months

According to court documents, the girl was sexually abused in separate incidents by two boys also in Batshaw’s care between November 2016 and August 2017. The abuse included sexual touching and vaginal penetration.

The incidents took place in her bedroom, in the shared bathroom and during a game of hide-and-seek at the centre, which is described as a “second-line supervision unit which has the highest staffing contingent.”

READ MORE: Officials promising to finish Batshaw homes for at-risk youth in Beaconsfield by fall 2018

The director of Batshaw admitted that “there was a lack of appropriate supervision, as well as a lack of understanding of procedures and safety plans during all three incidents.”

While the girl’s social workers flagged the first two incidents to Batshaw management, the girl or the boys were not moved from the home. The court ruling shows the girl and the two boys were the only children living in the unit in July 2017 before the third incident occurred one month later.

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One social worker also said the living situation created “further boundary issues” for the girl since she shared meals and activities with one of the boys.

The same social worker said the girl “even told her that the reason that the boys were doing this to her was that the older girls would say no.”

The ruling, which was made public on Tuesday, does not name the social workers or management involved with the case.

Problems with retention, instructions

In his ruling, Nadeau refers “high level of staff turnover” and an “inappropriate clinical program” model used at the foster home as two sources at the centre of the abuse.

Aside from retention difficulties, he also cites a “significant number” of recall staff at the Batshaw centre.

READ MORE: Mother sues Batshaw after case worker impregnates her

Nadeau found “recall staff were clearly not as aware of all of the various considerations involving the children.” In the third incident of reported sexual abuse, the two recall staff said they hadn’t received any specific instructions about the children in their care.

The Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), the union which represents Batshaw social workers and onsite staff, was not surprised by the judge’s findings.

READ MORE: Virtual reality helps to treat victims of sexual assault

Josée Asselin, a national representative for the union, said it is hard to work at the Dorval group home, which she described as a “harsh environment.”

“It’s not really a safe place to work,” she said. “You need to have special training to work there.”

She said the foster homes need a stable team to make sure there is not “a high turnover and to make sure that there is a safe workplace, free of violence.”

“They need to be well trained and that was not the case,” Asselin said. “They had some experienced people working there and some not.”

Global News reached out to the Montreal West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS), which oversees Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, but it did not return a request for comment.

READ MORE: For child abuse survivors, it can be tough to overcome trauma

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Calls to London Abused Women’s Centre increasing dramatically during annual anti-abuse campaign – London


The London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) says it’s received more than double the usual number of calls for help since launching its Shine The Light campaign at the start of the month.

The annual awareness initiative aims to put a spotlight on gendered violence while using the colour purple to show women they’re supported and believed.

Fabienne Haller, the shelter’s fund development co-ordinator, told 980 CFPL in the past two weeks they’ve received 120 calls from women asking for help, compared to the usual 25-50 calls in that time frame.

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“This is incredible, this has not happened before. This is significant,” she explained.

Although there’s usually a surge in calls throughout their awareness campaign, Haller said this is the first time it’s been so noticeable that staff organized a meeting to talk about it.

“The increase in service demand is very much related to women feeling empowered, and feeling encouraged and somewhat safe to reach out for help,” she said, noting things that have happened over the past few years locally, nationally, and internationally.

“I think women, and some men, are willing to tackle this and are willing to talk about women abuse on a more public platform.”

2018 Shine the Light on Woman Abuse campaign launches with moving survivor story

Thursday marks the middle of the month-long campaign, and it’s also Wear People Day. The London Abused Women’s Centre urges people to decorate businesses, schools, and homes with purple lights throughout the month, but there’s a special emphasis on wearing purple on Nov. 15.

Haller says donning purple clothing or swag sends a clear message to women in the community experiencing violence that they’re supported, and believed.

But she encourages people sporting purple swag to do some self-reflection.

“Every time you chose to support a cause, such as Wear Purple Day, I hope that you will give some thought to why you are wearing purple.”

Shine The Light officially kicked off Nov. 1 with a lighting of the Tree Of Hope in Victoria Park. This year’s honorees, Shainee Chalk and Maddison Fraser, were announced Oct. 19. Chalk is a victim of revenge porn, while Fraser was lured into the sex trade as a teen, and died in a car crash with a man believed to be a john.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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