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What nurses need to know

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond recommends in her report, "Lost in the Shadows", that the CRNBC and other health-related professional regulators inform their registrants of the findings and remind them of their statutory responsibility..

posted March 7, 2014

What nurses need to know about the report by B​​C Representative for Children and Youth

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth, submitted a report to the B.C. Legislative Assembly in February 2014. Her report, Lost in the Shadows, How a Lack of Help Meant a Loss of Hope for One First Nations Girl (PDF), outlines the tragic account of a 14-year-old First Nations girl who endured ongoing abuse and eventually committed suicide. The report describes how this young girl slipped through the cracks because of systemic shortfalls. Turpel-Lafond recommends that the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) and other health-related professional regulators inform their registrants of the findings and remind them of their statutory responsibility according to the Child, Family and Community Service Act

CRNBC takes this report very seriously. Protecting children and the vulnerable is a critical obligation of the nursing profession. Nurses are encouraged to read and familiarize themselves with the report’s findings.  

Nurses have a legal and ethical duty to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. We ask nurses ensure they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities of reporting children who may be in need of protection. CRNBC Professional Standard 1 directs nurses to practice within all relevant legislation.

In particular, nurses are required to know what specific legislation applies to their practice and follow legislated requirements. For further information on nurses' duty to report child abuse and neglect, you will find a summary of the relevant section of the Child, Family and Community Service Act in Legislation Relevant to Nurses' Practice (PDF). 

Nurses must follow the Privacy and Confidentiality Practice Standard that identifies that a nurse discloses information outside of the healthcare team when there is a specific ethical or legal obligation to do so. We encourage nurses to use our online learning module that focuses on privacy and confidentiality.

Nurses may contact Practice Support for further guidance on situations such as suspected child abuse or neglect. In addition, the B.C. Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect: For Service Providers (PDF) is also available to nurses as are other resources including in the CRNBC Library.

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