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Report from the Representative for Children and Youth

A failure of the B.C. health system to address severe abuse of children is a significant concern to the College

Posted May 27, 2015

In May 2015, B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond released a report, Paige's Story: Abuse, Indifference and a Young Life Discarded. This report documents the downward spiral of a child who had great potential but never received the protection, nurturing and care she needed and deserved. Professional indifference to her life circumstances continually left her—and at times even actively placed her—in harm’s way.

CRNBC is very concerned with this report’s findings.

In 2014, the representative recommended that regulatory Colleges reinforce the statutory responsibility when there is reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected. The College took the recommendations very seriously, as evidenced by this reference in this new report:

"In Lost in the Shadows: How a Lack of Help Meant a Loss of Hope for One First Nations Girl, the Representative made a recommendation directed to the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Registered Nurses about reminding their members of this statutory responsibility. This recommendation has been taken and seriously implemented."

The College sent a special communication to nurses reinforcing this crucial duty, and in partnership with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC), we developed a specific case study, "What were the warning signs?"

CRNBC greatly respects the work of the Representative, and is deeply saddened by this new report, detailing a heartbreaking and devastating story of abuse.

Protecting children and the vulnerable is a critical obligation of the nursing profession. We take this report very seriously, and feel the College has an important role to play in preventing abuse within a complex healthcare system.

We are reaching out to our registrants to remind them of their statutory responsibilities around taking action when abuse is suspected. We urge all nurses to review the B.C. Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect — a key resource. We are always open to working with other health professional and government organizations to find collaborative solutions that can help avoid such terrible tragedies.

Please contact ceo@crnbc.ca if you have questions or concerns.

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