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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Child and Youth Advocate has issued a scathing report on the Liberal government’s response to incidents of sexual abuse in a Yukon school.
The report finds that not only was the communication between the Liberal government and the public highly inadequate, but that it ultimately affected access to therapeutic supports for students and their families. Since the assailant was formally charged in December 2019, there was a lack of coordinated response between departments that ultimately resulted in the untimely and inadequate provision of therapeutic supports and healing to impacted members of the school community.
“This is the most scathing report from an independent officer of the Legislature in the Yukon’s history,” said the Leader of the Official Opposition Currie Dixon. “Unfortunately, however, it is not the least bit surprising. The school community, both opposition parties, and individuals directly affected by these incidents have been pointing out the inadequate response from the Liberal government for over a year.”
In the words of the Executive Summary of the Report: “The harm was compounded by an inadequate government response. Following the incident, communication to family and the public were poorly managed and mostly non-existent. This ultimately impacted access to therapeutic supports for students and their families and highlights the need for improvements to a coordinated response across departments.”
The report barely stops short of explicitly calling for Ministers to resign. It states, “We have had numerous conversations about what accountability means to parents and of children involved. For many, it means personal responsibility from those in charge of this situation.”
This is the latest report that has found the Liberal government’s response to this tragedy entirely inadequate. Since the incidents came to light there have been multiple independent reports on this exact issue. There have been hours of debate in the Legislature where MLAs from both Opposition Parties have pressed the government to improve the supports available to those affected. There has been a public letter from the Hidden Valley School Council pleading for the Minister to live up to her commitments of support.
There has even been an unprecedented motion passed by the majority of MLAs in the Yukon Legislative Assembly calling on the former Minister of Education to resign for inadequacies of that Minister’s handling of this matter.
The Yukon Party Official Opposition is calling for the Liberal government to follow the recommendations from the CYAO, including providing a public report outlining a response to the Advocate’s review by November 22.