Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recently Released Research Reports from Justice Canada

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications refers to a number of research reports released recently by Justice Canada:

  • Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault: "Over the past three decades, the Canadian criminal law on sexual assault and other sexual offences has changed quite significantly through both the courts and parliament. It is now recognized that males, both as children and as adults, can be victims and survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. The majority of victims of sexual assault are female and there is a significant body of research from many disciplines examining the criminal and civil justice system responses, impacts, treatment, etc. The body of research on male victims is much more limited likely due to the smaller numbers and challenges recruiting representative samples. This research study examines the experiences of male survivors of both child sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual assault (ASA). In Canada, statistics come from police-reported and self-reported data. The police-reported data for 2010 show that males accounted for 12% of sexual assault victims (...) In nearly half (47%) of police-reported sexual assaults against male victims in 2008, the accused was someone known to the victim (e.g., friend, acquaintance, or current/former dating partner), but was not a family member. In 2009, the self-reported sexual assault victimization rate for males was half the rate for females (15 vs. 34 per 1,000) (...) and it is estimated that the majority of sexual assaults against males and females (88%) are not reported to police ...  "
  • Understanding the Similarities and Differences Between Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health Disorders: "The full range of outcomes due to prenatal alcohol exposure is called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD includes three medical diagnoses: FAS, partial FAS and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder. The prevalence of full FAS in the United States is estimated to be 2-7 per 1,000 and that of all the diagnoses under FASD to be 2-5 per 100 (May et al. 2009). However, the prevalence of people with FASD in the criminal justice system (CJS) appears to be disproportionately higher, with estimates of 10% to 23% of youth and adult in correctional facilities (...) The effects of significant prenatal exposure to alcohol are life-long and can increase susceptibility to criminal activity, victimization, and mental health problems for youth and adults. In the CJS there is an over-representation of people with FASD, individuals with mental health disorders, and those with both FASD and mental health disorders (...) Many individuals, who are not necessarily known to have FASD, have mental health disorders which may contribute to their difficulties in the legal system and trouble with the law. Examples of these disorders are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Personality Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, and Substance Use Disorders. According to the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) (2010), in the past fifteen years there has been a considerable increase in the number of both male and female offenders with mental health problems presenting to the system and requiring mental health care. This discussion paper examines the similarities and differences between individuals having a diagnosis of FASD and those having a diagnosis of a mental health disorder. First, the diagnostic process for FASD and for mental health disorders is described. In order to understand the implications of these diagnoses, the behaviours that result from FASD need to be understood. What is less well understood is the overlap between FASD and mental health disorders, that is, the high proportion of those with FASD who also have a mental health disorder and the unknown number of individuals with mental health disorders who may have an undiagnosed FASD. In addition to the primary disability, the FASD or mental health disorder, the interaction with genetics and post-natal environmental factors confounds the diagnostic profile"
  • Vulnerable Adult Witnesses - The Perceptions and Experiences of Crown Prosecutors and Victim Services Providers in the Use of Testimonial Support Provisions: "This is an exploratory study examining the perceptions and experiences of Crown prosecutors and victim services providers of the testimonial support provisions for vulnerable adult witnesses found in s.486 of the Criminal Code. The purpose of the research is to gain a clearer understanding of how the provisions on testimonial accommodations are being used in Canada to assist vulnerable adult witnesses in providing their testimony. These provisions were expanded and clarified in January 2006 with Bill C-2, which also included a five year parliamentary review. Little is known about how testimonial aids are being used to assist vulnerable adult witnesses in providing their testimony. This research is intended to address this gap. The study consisted of a series of semi-structured interviews with crown prosecutors and victim services providers from jurisdictions across Canada. Eighteen Crowns were interviewed from eight different jurisdictions, and eleven victim services providers were interviewed from five different jurisdictions. Their locations included large and mid-sized urban centres and small communities in rural and remote areas (...) The types of disabilities of witnesses reported by respondents vary considerably and include persons with intellectual disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, brain injury, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Down syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder. For other adult witnesses, the Crown must establish that the accommodation is necessary to obtain a full and candid account from the witness. Applications were made most frequently where there were charges related to sexual assault and domestic violence."
  • Testimonial Support for Vulnerable Adults (Bill C-2) - Case Law Review (2009-2012): "Bill C-2, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Protection of Children and Other Vulnerable Persons) and the Canada Evidence Act received Royal Assent on July 21, 2005. The bill included amendments to facilitate witness testimony, which came into force on January 2, 2006. These amendments were intended to provide greater clarity and consistency for the use of testimonial aids and other measures for victims and witnesses under the age of eighteen years, and also made testimonial aids and other measures available to vulnerable adult witnesses for the first time. Testimonial aids include allowing a witness to testify behind a screen, outside the courtroom by closed-circuit television, and to be accompanied by a support person during their testimony (...) Since Bill C-2 came into effect, what does case law reveal about the new law and how has Canadian legal literature dealt with these legal reforms? It deals most comprehensively with provisions relating to child witnesses, but also considers accommodations for adult vulnerable witnesses."

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:42 pm

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