The Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office (YCAO) has released its review of Yukon Government’s (YG) response to the November 2019 sexualized abuse incident at Hidden Valley Elementary School (HVES). The review, entitled Responding to Sexualized Abuse in Yukon Schools: Review of Policies and Governmental Response, was tabled by the Minister of Education on October 12, 2022.
The YCAO completed the review in accordance with section 12(1) of the Child and Youth Advocate Act and terms of reference agreed upon by Department of Education (EDU). It uses a children’s rights analysis as a methodological framework and finds that children were not prioritized in YG’s response to the allegations at HVES.
“This review of existing YG policies and implementation in the cases of sexualized abuse at Hidden Valley Elementary School has brought to light systemic failures in how YG responds to child abuse in schools generally,” said Annette King, the Advocate. “The impacts of abuse for children and families can be mitigated by timely coordinate responses. Unfortunately, that was not the case here.”
The review provides advice to YG in the following areas:
· Reporting and Investigating Sexualized Abuse in Schools
· Educational Supports for Children with Special Needs
· Therapeutic Supports and Coordinated Response
· Communication with Families and the Public
The Advocate outlines eight recommendations for action in the review, and has requested a formal public response from YG by Nov. 22, 2022.