Posts in General News

abuse, McMaster, prevention, inmates, prison, prisoner abuse, education, canada

Half of Canada’s prisoners were abused as children, McMaster study suggests

February 21st, 2019 General News

SOURCE: CBC News

Samantha Craggs · CBC News · 

 

‘Everyone can agree that prison is not a healthy place for people,’ lead researcher of AJPH study says

About half of Canada’s inmates were abused as children, suggests a new study out of McMaster University.

Medical student Claire Bodkin led a team that studied data from 30 years of research into Canadian inmates. Their work was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).

The researchers found 65 per cent of female inmates experienced abuse in general, and half of them were sexually abused.

Bodkin said only one study in the data evaluated reported the prevalence of abuse among men. The researchers found abuse rates involving male inmates were at 35.5 per cent, with 21.9 per cent of them having experienced sexual abuse.

If we had more resources at the preventative level, before people got in conflict with the law, that would be really amazing.– Ruth Greenspan, John Howard Society

The team did a statistical analysis of the results to reach the conclusion that half of inmates had been abused, Bodkin said.

“That’s an alarmingly high number.”

These are the other researchers involved in the work, which included going over 34 studies from territorial, federal and provincial prisons and jails:

  • Fiona Kouyoumdjian and Lucie Pivnick, both McMaster.
  • Susan Bondy of the University of Toronto.
  • Carolyn Ziegler of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.
  • Ruth Elwood Martin of the University of British Columbia.

Claire Bodkin, lead author of the article in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, says one purpose of the research is to help determine: ‘How do we prevent childhood abuse from happening in the first place?’ (Sara Alavian)

Bodkin said understanding people who have been incarcerated — including reoffenders — will go a long way in helping prevent crime.

Prisons need to take trauma into account in how they deal with inmates, Bodkin said.

“Regardless of where you stand politically, I think everyone can agree that prison is not a healthy place for people, and that it’s a symptom of multiple other things that have gone wrong.”

So “how do we need to think about the impact of childhood trauma? How do we prevent childhood abuse from happening in the first place?”

The findings aren’t surprising to Ruth Greenspan, executive director of the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and area in Ontario.

“Many resort to their own abuse of themselves,” she said. “There’s a lot of addiction, self-mutilation, self-harm, and suicide, which again, are all indications of having suffered a lot of trauma. PTSD is something you see when you work with this population.”

There have been some great programs over the years to address trauma among people who commit crimes, she said. But the funding comes and goes.

On the whole, there aren’t enough free resources for individuals — before, during or after prison, said Greenspan.

Prevention ‘would just save so much money’

“If we had more resources at the preventative level, before people got in conflict with the law, that would be really amazing,” she said.

“If we prevented it, we would just save so much money in the criminal justice system. And I don’t think we’re there yet.”

For her part, Bodkin has done some clinical training with men during and after prison. Some have “really expansive trauma histories,” including severe abuse as children, she said.

“We suspected it was high, but there wasn’t good research out there that led to a national perspective in Canada.”

As for what constitutes abuse, Bodkin and her team used a World Health Organization definition, which means attendance at a residential school wasn’t considered, although that research would be useful too, Bodkin said.

At any given time, 41,000 people are incarcerated in Canada, and a disproportionate number are Indigenous.

kaillie humphries, cbc, harassment, athlete abuse, sport harassment, sport abuse

Canadian bobsled star Kaillie Humphries alleges harassment

January 22nd, 2019 General News

Source:  THE CANADIAN PRESS

Posted Jan 19, 2019 8:35 pm EST

Canadian Olympic athlete Kaillie Humphries poses for a photo at the Olympic Summit in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, June 3, 2017. Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton has confirmed that former Olympian Kaillie Humphries filed a harassment complaint with the organization. Humphries stepped away from competition in October before the World Cup season began. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Olympic bobsledder Kaillie Humphries says she has filed a harassment complaint with Canadian officials, and that her case is why she is not competing in World Cup races this season.

Humphries told CBC for a story published Saturday that she “can no longer be silenced because of other people’s actions,” though she stopped short of specifying what type of harassment she is alleging took place.

She is a three-time Olympic medallist and two-time Olympic champion. Humphries announced in October that she was not competing this season, though never detailed why until now.

“I found myself in a position where my workplace environment was impaired and I couldn’t compete,” Humphries told CBC.

Bobsleigh Canada spokesman Chris Dornan told The Associated Press that the federation “has been made aware” of Humphries’ allegations, and that triggers an probe by an independent investigator.

“We take any allegations of this nature very seriously,” Dornan said. “A safe training and competitive environment for everyone involved in our sport is Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s No. 1 priority. This is a highly confidential case. Out of respect to all parties involved, and the process, we will not be commenting further on this matter until the investigation is complete.”

Humphries has been one of the most dominant women in bobsledding, with four World Cup overall titles in the past six seasons. She was the Olympic gold medallist in 2010 and 2014, and took third at last year’s Pyeongchang Games.

“My entire career is at stake, who I am personally,” Humphries told CBC. “I’m risking everything to be in this position. It’s not something I take lightly. So yeah, for me personally there’s a lot at stake.”

hockey cyberbullying, team canada, junior hockey, sport abuse, abuse prevention, sport abuse prevention, hockey abuse world juniors

Cyberbullying of Canada’s World Juniors brings to light ugly side of hockey culture

January 18th, 2019 General News

Source: City News 1130 BY MARCUS FITZGERALD AND HANA MAE NASSAR

Posted Jan 4, 2019 6:12 am PST

Last Updated Jan 4, 2019 at 12:41 pm PST

 

 

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As some of Canada’s World Junior hockey players caught some harsh criticism on social media following a quarterfinal loss this week, it served as another look into the darker side of the culture of the sport.

It can start at an early age through a slightly different lens.

Matt Bell, 19, is a youth hockey official in Stratford, Ontario, and recently posted an open letter on Twitter.

He described getting some nasty verbal feedback from one parent in particular, and is trying to remind everyone that hostility in the face of something you don’t agree with isn’t the best way to go.

Sean Raphael, the referee-in-chief for the B.C. Amateur Hockey Association, says much has been done to take that kind of thing out of youth hockey.

However, he admits it still exists.

“There’s going to be some of that negative feedback, frustration,” Raphael tells NEWS 1130. “People maybe not understanding what the officials are doing when they’re right, or not understanding the human component to it — that they are going to mistakes and how to appropriately, maybe, address their frustration when they see somebody maybe make a mistake.”

While some of the verbal abuse on and off the ice can be extreme, Raphael says everyone needs to continue to work to phase that element out of the game.

“If we want to eliminate checking from behind or head injuries, and we implement rules to address them, overnight the philosophy doesn’t change, right? It takes time to condition it into what the new expectation is. And we maybe need a little bit more focus on what that expectation is of conduct.”

Work is ongoing to try and address the issue, he adds, however, Raphael says sometimes it’s still easy to forget where the line is.

“I think it’s just a matter of everybody in the culture understanding that everyone has a role to play in the game, and that everyone’s an individual person on the ice and that we shouldn’t really get too caught up on trivialities of the sport and that we’re all there for the same goal.”

university of michigan, nassar, scandal, usa gymnastics, sexual abuse gymnastics, olympic committee, sport abuse scandal, coach abuse, abuse prevention canada, coach abuse prevention, e-learning prevention, respect group

University of Michigan Fires Gymnastics Coach With Ties to Nassar Scandal

January 18th, 2019 General News

Source: The New York Times 

By Mihir Zaveri

 

The University of Michigan athletics department said Sunday that it would end its contract with a former U.S.A. Gymnastics executive connected to the Lawrence G. Nassar sexual abuse scandal, just days after the university hired her as a coaching consultant for its women’s gymnastics team.

The university’s decision to move on from the former executive, Rhonda Faehn, is the latest fallout from the scandal, in which Nassar, a former doctor for the United States women’s gymnastics team and Michigan State University, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sex crimes against female athletes.

Ms. Faehn, who was fired in May after serving as senior vice president of U.S.A. Gymnastics for three years, had not been charged with a crime in the scandal, the University of Michigan noted when it hired her. She voluntarily testified before Congress in June that she had passed reports about Nassar’s abuse to her boss, the federation’s president, and believed he had promptly acted on them.

But outcry built after she was hired on Thursday, with some university regents and members of the public demanding an end to the contract with Ms. Faehn, The Detroit News reported Sunday.

“I have come to the conclusion that it is not in the best interest of the University of Michigan and our athletic program to continue the consulting contract with Rhonda Faehn,” Athletic Director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “It was the wrong decision, and I apologize.”

The athletics department did not answer further questions about Ms. Faehn’s firing. Efforts to reach Ms. Faehn, who led the women’s gymnastics program at the University of Florida to three straight N.C.A.A. titles, were not successful.

Ms. Faehn was believed to be the first U.S.A. Gymnastics official who was told about Nassar’s abuse, The Indianapolis Star reported in May.

During her testimony before Congress, she described how she had told the former president of U.S.A. Gymnastics, Steve Penny, about a coach’s concerns about Nassar in July 2015. She said that she assumed Mr. Penny would quickly report the concerns to law enforcement, and that he had directed her not to discuss “the current issue” about a member of the medical staff with anyone.

In an announcement about her hiring, Mr. Manuel said that after the university’s “exhaustive due diligence,” it “felt comfortable that coach Faehn reported all information available to her regarding Larry Nassar and that she cooperated fully.”

 

“Neither an internal investigation by U.S.A. Gymnastics or a criminal investigation by the F.B.I. have assigned culpability or resulted in any charges against her,” Mr. Manuel said in the announcement.

It is not clear what exactly led to the university changing direction or when Ms. Faehn’s contract is set to end. As of Sunday night, the university’s website still listed her as an assistant coach.

st. michaels abuse, st. mikes, abuse, school, hazing canada, sport hazing, harassment hazing, stop hazing, respect

What we can learn from St. Mike’s to keep our kids safe

December 21st, 2018 General News, Respect in School

Peter MacKay, former federal justice minister and attorney general, is the board chair of the Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Center. Karyn Kennedy is the organization’s CEO.

Many Canadians have paid close attention to the criminal proceedings involving students at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, which have included assault and gang sexual assault. At Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, we have been supporting victims and families involved in this case, as we have been doing for thousands of victims and their families in Toronto for more than 30 years. The storied history of the school has made the St. Michael’s case seem exceptional; but sadly, it is not. Even in the weeks after the St. Michael’s story emerged, we’ve had calls from parents across the city seeking help because their child was abused at other schools.

This is a problem that exists in every part of the country: Each year, there are more than 200,000 cases of reported child abuse and neglect in Canada. This number alone is shocking enough. Consider also that the impact of unresolved childhood abuse can be lifelong and cut across generations. This present reality makes us angry. It makes us sad. It must also drive action on improvement, because improved prevention is possible. That number can go down.

We must appreciate that this isn’t just about one school with a problem. In fact, this isn’t just a school problem. The St. Michael’s case has opened a window into the dangers of abuse that face children and youth across Canada in a variety of settings.

With younger children, the safety imperatives can seem more obvious. We regulate things such as car seats and playground equipment. We teach children in our lives to look both ways when crossing the street. We child-proof our homes.

When children become adolescents, they have new experiences that can sometimes present new risks. They spend more unsupervised time with other young people. Various adults can play significant roles in their lives and in reaching goals related to sports or other activities. Adolescents are not always as well prepared for the risks in these new environments because awareness and prevention aren’t discussed as openly as those childhood risks. This must change. Protection of adolescent children is also on our watch – the responsibility belongs to all of us.

Let’s start by losing our complacency and pledging to never permit, mask or make excuses for any type of abuse. Let’s call hazing and initiation what it truly is: a deliberate, often illegal use of power to abuse and degrade another human being. We also need to consider whether the term bullying really captures what is happening when boys and girls are physically or sexually assaulted by older children or youth. When such acts are committed against an adult, we call it sexual assault and call the police. Young people should be made more aware that committing such acts can lead to criminal charges and are, in fact, very damaging to those victimized.

Active, honest communication is vital. Children and youth must know that they will be heard if they tell an adult that they have experienced or seen abuse. There are children who have told our staff about wanting to tell an adult in their life about abuse but feeling there was never the right moment when they would have their full attention and understanding. Everybody has a responsibility to create those moments. Young people must know there is no higher priority than their safety. No other goal – not championships or scholarships – is more important than their well-being.

We need to build a stronger culture of prevention in places where youth spend their time. There should be active and transparent plans, understood by all – school administrators, principals, teachers, coaches, youth and parents – for mitigating the risk of assault and sexual assault.

Children who come forward to report abuse are heroes who open our eyes. We can’t look away. We owe it to them to protect them and other children from harm. All Canadians must join us in taking action, right now, to prevent abuse and build a future in which children and youth grow up in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment.

Former St. Michael’s students share stories of bullying dating back decades, abuse, school,

Former St. Michael’s students share stories of bullying dating back decades

November 28th, 2018 General News, Respect in School

Dave Trafford had an incredible time at St. Michael’s College School four decades ago. He was the student body president, played on the hockey team, performed in musicals and ran its newspaper. He had a close group of friends who all had a great time.

Or so he thought.

Last week, as the all-boys private school in Toronto was rocked by allegations of assault and sexual assault by students, Trafford discovered that two of his best friends had struggled with bullying and felt unsafe at St. Michael’s.

“I did not see it then,” Trafford said. “It’s shocking, disappointing and heartbreaking.”

A criminal investigation triggered by a video that police sources say shows several members of a St. Michael’s sports team pinning down a student and sexually assaulting him with a broom handle has now expanded to include at least six incidents. Six students – aged 14 and 15 – are already facing sex assault-related charges and police have warned more charges could follow.

The school has admitted that it has failed in its responsibility to keep students safe, saying the recent incidents clearly indicate it has a problem.

“We need to do much better at our culture and our student’s ability to talk to us,” the school’s principal, Greg Reeves, said earlier this week after police announced the criminal charges against the six students.

The growing scandal has forced alumni to grapple with the past and a number of them are coming forward with their own experiences of bullying and harassment at the school that stretches back decades.

“There’s a real opportunity for the school to take a good look at itself and go deep and figure out how and why it happened and how they missed this,” Trafford said. “And to find out everything that has happened in the past.”

 

A number of former students who spoke with The Canadian Press said they’re eager to share their stories as part of an internal review promised by the school.

 

Nathan Goveas graduated from St. Michael’s in 2003.

“I was bullied the entire time I was there, right from day one,” said Goveas, who’s now a teacher.

He wasn’t involved in sports.

“I’m a skinny brown kid. People made fun of my appearance. It was mostly verbal bullying,” he said.

He never complained, but said his mother grew worried when she noticed he was feeling “down” in Grade 11. So she went to the administration.

“The principal dismissed it as boys will be boys,” Goveas said. The bullying continued.

Kyle Fraser said he left St. Michael’s in 2013 after Grade 10, unable to deal with the bullying.

“Leaving was the best decision of my life,” he said.

“I was bullied non stop, very relentless, not only by the students (but also) by the staff.”

He said he was picked on because he struggled with math and science and also because he wasn’t as good at hockey as some other students there.

“All that stuff affected me for a very long time,” he said. He became depressed and anxious.

“I was suicidal at one point. It got really bad.”

Fraser, who now studies at a university in Ohio, shared his story at an alumni meeting at the school on Tuesday night and received a lot of support afterward.

“It was very warming and put me in a peaceful state of mind,” he said. “There are a lot of good people there.”

Fraser and Goveas said there was a wide range of opinions at the meeting.

“I think some alumni aren’t willing to recognize the issues,” Goveas said.

Jean-Paul Bedard went public with his story last week in wake of the scandal. He lived through a violent, sexualized hazing incident at the school in the 1980s. He didn’t attend the alumni meeting, but has offered his services to the school as not only a survivor of sexual assault, but also as a trained trauma peer mentor. The school has yet to take up his offer.

“I’m skeptical of this review, but I will certainly be sharing my story,” he said. “Their attitude seems to be ‘we know how to fix this and don’t need outside help.“’

D’Arcy McKeown said he had a great time at St. Michael’s. Just a few months after graduating from the Roman Catholic school in 2005, he says he was sexually assaulted with a broom handle at McGill University as part of a hazing with the football team.

He left after just two weeks and returned to his alma mater, St. Michael’s, which he called a “safe space to recover.” He volunteered with the school’s football program for a time, before eventually resuming his studies at the University of Toronto.

McKeown applauded the school’s desire to take a victim-centric approach as it deals with both the current incidents and the historical “deep dive” into its culture.

“You need to get everything out there,” he said. “If others’ unfortunate experiences can help guide St. Mike’s in preventing these things going forward, it’s for the best, as painful as it may be for some to tell these stories.”

St. Michael’s alumni will be helping the school with mentorship and workshops in the coming days and weeks in an effort to help the current students.

being trauma aware, skcac, sheldon kennedy, sheldon kennedy child advocacy centre, respect, abuse, abuse prevention

Sheldon Kennedy Centre launches trauma-training program

November 6th, 2018 Being Trauma Aware, General News

Calgary Herald – 

SAMMY HUDES

A new program launched by the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre aims to help people recognize the potential signs of child abuse when working with youth.

The online tool, called “Being Trauma Aware: Making a difference in the lives of children and youth”, is a two-and-a-half-hour course designed to increase understanding of the effects of child abuse and provide training for social workers, teachers, police officers, doctors, sport coaches and other front-line workers.

“What we hear time and time again is when a child finally does disclose or a perpetrator is held accountable is that many people who were involved in the situation had their suspicions,” said Sara Austin, CEO of the centre.

“People had a bad feeling about a situation and yet for some reason didn’t act. This course really helps to fill that gap.”

The program, developed in collaboration with the province, the University of Calgary, the Zebra Child Protection Centre, the Palix Foundation, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, is free for the remainder of the year.

Its development was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Austin said one in three Canadians experiences some form of abuse as a child, yet the issue is still vastly under-reported.

“The majority will not disclose their abuse,” she said. “Even as an adult, many survivors still do not come forward and seek help.”

The course is “trauma-informed” and “evidence-based,” according to Austin.

“It really is around creating awareness about the issues involving child maltreatment,” she said. “By taking the course, you would learn things like how to recognize the signs of potential child abuse, how to respond if a child discloses abuse, what to do if you suspect the child abuse is happening and how you can responsibly report the incident and maintain the safety of the child involved.”

For more information, visit sheldonkennedycac.ca/education/being-trauma-aware.

resepct group, harassment prevention training, abuse prevention in sport, sport abuse, girls, sport, coaching tools, coaching resources, athlete resources, coach training, abuse prevention training

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group

October 9th, 2018 General News, Respect in Sport

resepct group, harassment prevention training, abuse prevention in sport, sport abuse, girls, sport, coaching tools, coaching resources, athlete resources, coach training, abuse prevention training

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Launched Keeping Girls in Sport in Partnership with Coaching Association of Canada, CAAWS and Respect Group

Canadian Tire Jumpstart

Keeping Girls in Sport is an online resource that teaches coaches and youth activity leaders how to create safe and respectful environments for girls, and ultimately, help girls stay enrolled and engaged in sport and physical activity. 
In partnership with the Coaching Association of Canada  and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport , Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities developed Keeping Girls in Sport with the expert input of Dr. Vicki Harber, professor emeritus in the faculty of physical education and recreation at the University of Alberta. 
JUMPSTART’S GIRLS IN SPORT INITIATIVE
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity dedicated to helping kids, who otherwise might not have the chance to play, get in the game. Studies have repeatedly shown that during adolescence, girls drop out of sport at a significantly higher rate than boys. Along with removing financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation, Jumpstart is committed to helping girls get, and stay active for life. 
Beyond physical fitness, there are countless benefits to participating in sport and recreation. Sport fosters valuable life skills like confidence, resilience, and teamwork, and helps girls grow up to become strong leaders in their own communities and beyond. 
JUMPSTART GAMES FOR GIRLS
Since 2016, Jumpstart has hosted several Jumpstart Games for Girls across Canada. Inspired by Jumpstart’s Chairman Emeritus, Martha Billes, these games are a fun day of play where girls can be active, have fun, feel inspired to get into the game, and remain active throughout adolescence. 

Receiving a disclosure of abuse: How to respond when a child shares their story with you

August 27th, 2018 General News

The Zebra Centre’s Becci Watson, Director of Justice Partnerships & Supports, shares how to respond to a disclosure of child abuse, and the important role you play in making sure that child feels heard and believed.

 

Sexual harassment still an all-too-real problem in Canadian business

July 19th, 2018 General News, Respect in the Workplace

Yahoo News

2,000 Canadians surveyed by Navigator in February (2018), over one third of female respondents said they had been sexually harassed at work. 12 per cent of men said they had been sexually harassed at work. Another report, this time conducted by the Gandolf Group, showed that 94 per cent of executives think sexual harassment is not a problem, and four in five Canadians said they had “unwanted experiences at work, and didn’t report it to their employers.” MORE

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