When it's Time to Get Help

Child Sexual Abuse in Canada

by stemwebadmin






Here’s a link to the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, a publication of the Public Health Agency of Canada:
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/html/nfntsxagrsex_e.html
The article contains some frightening facts:

The most extensive study of child sexual abuse in Canada was conducted by the Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths. Its report indicates that, among adult Canadians, 53 percent of women and 31 percent of men were sexually abused when they were children.
Most offenders are not strangers to their victims. In most cases, they are well known to their victims.
Some offenders have abused more than 70 children before any of the victims disclosed the abuse. In cases in which one offender has abused a large number of victims, the abused children are more likely to be male.

The article contains good advice about abuse prevention, support services as well as recommended reading.

Lawsuit against Vatican can proceed

by stemwebadmin






A Kentucky lawsuit filed in federal court in 2004 against the Vatican that alleges that the Vatican covered up known or suspected sexual abuse by American priests recently survived a legal challenge.
Legal counsel for the Vatican made an application to strike out the lawsuit on the grounds of sovereign immunity, which generally protects nations from being sued in the U.S.
In a decision released January 11, 2007 U.S. District Judge John Heyburn II dismissed the Plaintiff’s allegations that the Vatican was negligent in failing to protect children entrusted to the care of Catholic priests.
However, the judge refused to dismiss allegations that the Vatican failed to report incidents of child abuse and failed to warn parishioners that their children would be under the care of known or suspected sexual abusers.
The Kentucky lawsuit is based in part on instructions the Vatican sent in 1962 to every Catholic Bishop in the world commanding them to maintain a policy of “strictest secrecy” when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse against a priest. The document, which was signed under the seal of Pope John XXIII, threatened to excommunicate anyone that violated the Church’s code of secrecy.
Read it here:
In May 2001 then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) sent a letter to Bishops confirming that the 1962 code of secrecy remained in effect.
If the Kentucky lawsuit proceeds, it could conceivably lead to the discovery deposition of Pope Benedict XVI , which could prove to be enlightening to say the least.
What has the Vatican been hiding for the last 45 years?

Indian Residential Schools: A Brief History of the Largest Abuse Claim Settlement Ever

by stemwebadmin






Between 1920 and 1996 the Canadian government engaged in a concerted effort to eliminate Native Canadian Aboriginal people through a process of forced assimilation. Aboriginal children were taken from their families and placed in Church run “Residential Schools” where they were prevented from speaking their own language and practising their spiritual beliefs, and horribly mistreated.
By 1995 former Residential School students across the country had filed dozens of individual civil claims for compensation for physical and sexual abuse they suffered in the schools.
In 1996 the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples described the Residential School Assimilation process:
“The removal of children from their homes and the denial of their identity through attacks on their language and spiritual beliefs were cruel. But these practices were compounded by the too frequent lack of basic care — the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, medical services and a healthful environment, and the failure to ensure that the children were safe from teachers and staff who abused them physically, sexually and emotionally. In educational terms, too, the schools — day and residential — failed dramatically, with participation rates and grade achievement levels lagging far behind those for non-Aboriginal students.”
Here’s the link to the full Royal Commission Report www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ch/rcap/index_e.html
In 1996 I was retained by Nora Bernard to file a Representative Action on behalf of all of the former students of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School in Nova Scotia. The claim was the first of it’s kind in Canada to seek compensation for all former students of a Residential School and the first to seek compensation for loss of language and culture. Here’s the link to Arnold McKiggan Hutchison’s webpage for the Shubenacadie claims https://www.apmlawyers.com/irscu.htm
In 1997 my friend and colleage Russ Raikes filed the Cloud class action on behalf of all former students of the Mohawk Institute Residential School and their family members.
In 1998, facing more than a thousand claims from former Residential School students, Canada issued a “Statement of Reconciliation” apologizing for the “tragedy” of the Residential Schools.
In 2000 the number of claims filed against Canada had topped 6,000.
In 2002 more than 8,000 abuse claims had been filed against Canada. Thompson Rogers filed a National Class Action on behalf of Charles Baxter and Elijah Baxter seeking compensation for all former Indian Residential School students in Canada, and their family members. The Shubenacadie survivors joined the Baxter National Class Action.
By 2004 Canada was facing more than 12,000 Residential School abuse claims. In December 2004 the Ontario Court of Appeal certified the Cloud class action.
In 2005 the Supreme Court of Canada denied Canada’s request for leave to appeal the Cloud decision. In May 2005 Canada appointed former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to negotiate a “lasting resolution” to the legacy of Indian Residential Schools. Here’s the full text of the announcement http://www.irsr-rqpi.gc.ca/english/news_30_05_05.html
I am proud to have participated in the negotiations with Canada on behalf of the Shubenacadie Survivors as part of the Baxter class action’s negotiating team. Other stakeholders included the Assembly of First Nations, representatives for former students, and Religious organizations that ran the schools. After six months of negotiations the parties reached an Agreement in Principle to compensate former Residential School students and their families.
The settlement includes an immediate fund of 1.9 Billion dollars to compensate all former Residential School students, estimated to be as many as 80,000 people. The settlement also requires Canada to fund an ongoing “Individual Assessment Process” to provide additional compensation for former students who suffered serious physical abuse and sexual abuse. The IAP claims are estimated to require further payments of 3 Billion dollars to Residential School abuse survivors over the next five years.
So there it is. 80,000 potential claimants. Up to 5 Billion dollars in compensation. The largest abuse claim settlement ever. But for those children who suffered through Canada’s misguided attempts at assimilation, and the generations that have felt the ripple effects of the harm caused by the schools, it is just the first step in a long process of healing and reconciliation.

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