The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Implementation in Canada
Signed, Sealed But Not Delivered
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child popular, but hard to enforce
Embassy, Ottawa, Ontario, By Sarah McGregor, April 13th, 2005
The construction of a legal framework required to fully satisfy obligations under a United Nations convention to protect children will be an ongoing process in Canada, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler told the Senate Human Rights Committee on Monday. Mr. Cotler said that each new law or regulation passed by Parliament will continue to obey the rules of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as with all international norms. However, he stopped short of endorsing complete compliance with each one of the Convention's elements, some of which have provoked controversy since its UN approval over 15 years ago.
One of the most memorable came several years ago, when a UN committee reported that Canada should prohibit the use of "reasonable force" against children, stirring a hot debate on the right of parents and caregivers to spank children. The Supreme Court shortly after upheld a law that permits the reasonable use of force in physical punishment.
Mr. Cotler, a widely respected lawyer and fervent human rights activist, explained that legal and jurisdictional restrictions prevent the adoption of a comprehensive law mirroring the Convention. He noted that child welfare, including many social services, is largely a provincial responsibility and global treaties don't bind the Canadian judiciary. However, he said that the Criminal Code, the new Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), and several other pieces of federal legislation and government policies provide the similar protections for children. He also noted that outspoken child rights advocate Senator Landon Pearson, known as the Children's Senator, has worked alongside the Justice Department to incorporate the "voice" of children in drafting new laws that directly impact their age group.
The UN General Assembly passed the Convention in 1989, and since then it has earned almost universal acceptance, with the exceptions being the United States and Somalia. The U.S. has come under fire for its refusal to agree to a treaty that bans the death penalty for children under 18 years old.
Canada ratified the Convention in 1991.
Mr. Cotler noted that the positive early signs given by countries quickly signing the convention starkly contrast with their unwillingness to then abide by its rules. Governments violate this non-binding global convention more than any other, noted Mr. Cotler.
In Canada, Mr. Cotler said a new bill designed to protect vulnerable people, including children, is currently being blocked by a "traffic jam" of legislation before Parliament.
Committee chair, Senator Raynell Andreychuk said in an interview following Mr. Cotler's testimony that the Minister simply repeated the status quo, but that the federal government could do much more for children if it wanted to. I hoped that the Minister would think beyond what we already have," she said. "We have a long way to go." She noted that her own convictions will be part of larger debate of the Senate committee studying Canada's obligations to children. Its members aim to complete a draft report this summer, and submit a final one to Parliament in October.
Ms. Andreychuk cited several examples of how federal legislators could act. For instance, Canadian youth accused of crimes are held in adult detention centres even though the Convention says children should be kept in separate facilities. She says a provision in the YCJA as well as additional financial resources could change that. "They aren't ready to embody (the convention) fully in law," she said.
The federal government will meet with provincial and territorial counterparts next week to discuss new ways to fulfill the Convention, according to the Justice department. In addition, the government is trying to better inform legal professionals about the Convention's principles.
Mr. Cotler said his department is hopeful the Senate committee will offer new ways to improve child rights in Canada, and suggested coordination mechanisms such as a secretariat or ombudsman that could handle complaints as possible solutions
VANCOUVER - Canada's largest study into the sexual exploitation of street kids and runaways has shattered some myths about who the abusers might be - with the most surprising finding being that many are women seeking sex with young males.
"Some youth in each gender were exploited by women with more than three out of four (79 per cent) sexually exploited males reporting exchanging sex for money or goods with a female," said Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator for the study conducted by Vancouver's McCreary Centre Society.
"I must admit it wasn't something we were expecting."
Associate Press, U.S.A.
April 3, 2009
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A western Pennsylvania mother has been charged with giving her 13-year-old daughter drugs and alcohol so the woman's boyfriend could impregnate the girl without her knowing, police said Thursday.
Shana Brown, 32, is no longer able to have children but wanted to have a baby with her current boyfriend, Duane Calloway, said Uniontown Police Detective Donald Gmitter. The pair decided to drug the girl so Calloway, 40, could have sex with her, he added.
"There's some sick people on this case," Gmitter said.
Brown has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, turned herself in Thursday and was being held in the Fayette County jail, police said. Brown's attorney did not return a call for comment.
Calloway faces several counts of attempted rape. He was arrested Wednesday and remains in jail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
The three attacks occurred in Brown's home in Uniontown, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, according to the criminal complaint.
The Oprah Winfrey Show
This woman raped or sexually assaulted over 100 children by her own account.
Because we assume women never commit child sexual abuse, we treat one who is accused with disproportionate disgust
The Guardian, UK
June 11, 2009
About 20 years ago, I gave a talk about sexual abuse to the RAF. At the end, a young airman came up to me and said, "It's not just men, you know," before hurriedly walking away. That pulled me up sharp. Up till then, like most people working in the area of sexual abuse, I'd always assumed the abusers were men.
This just isn't so. We can't be sure of the precise prevalence of sexual abuse by women, as there hasn't been enough research into the subject. Academics have just assumed it doesn't happened. But conservative estimates suggest that 5% of girls and 20% of boys who have reported being abused have been abused by women. From my own research - I have had 800 cases reported to me - I believe the more likely figure is that it is 20% of all sexual abuse that is done by women.
It is women themselves who have done most to propagate this conspiracy of silence. It has almost become a feminist axiom that it is men who are to blame for abuse and that if women are in some way implicated, it is only because they have somehow been forced or controlled into doing so against their will. Again, this turns out to be completely incorrect: 75% of the cases reported to me involved women acting on their own. Read More ..
Had intercourse with 2 teenagers
Pleads guilty to incest charges
A Kitchener woman has pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with her two teenage sons on separate occasions.
Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006
SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.
The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.
"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term. Read More ..
After Plymouth case shocked the nation, police say number of women abusing children
The Guardian UK and The Observer
4 October 2009
Researchers from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), a child protection charity that deals with British female sex offenders, said its studies confirmed that a "fair proportion" of child abusers were women. Donald Findlater, director of research and development, said results indicated that up to 20% of a conservative estimate of 320,000 suspected UK paedophiles were women. Read More ..
Associated Press / Fox News
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A 35-year-old seventh-grade teacher was charged with having sex with one of her students at least 20 times at the teacher's home.
Jodi Thorp, 35, surrendered to authorities Monday on charges of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors claim she had sex with the boy at her Mendham home between June 2001 and September 2002. The boy is now 15.