The stories of girls under Youth Protection placement orders are the parables of a society that is deeply flawed. Who are these girls, hidden in plain view?
Hidden In Plain View (2007) originated from Hidden, an arts-based empowerment intervention program that took place in a Montreal all-female locked facility. When the girls shared their stories for the making of this film, all lived in Encadrement Intensif.
Encadrement Intensif constitutes a specialized clinical program for youth whose behaviors are considered very dangerous towards her self or others given their gravity, intensity and recurrence. The purpose of the program is to create a context, which favors the progressive integration of internal control mechanisms allowing the client to control dangerous behaviors. This is achieved through the use of dynamic and static measures where the intensity of the measures is modulated by the protection needs of the client and those in her environment. The program offers family-centered services aimed at reducing risk and returning the client to her community. It also includes a high school component, a diverse activity program, group work services, and a secure back-up program.
Many young women involved with the Youth Protection system and the Youth Criminal Justice Act are victims of different types of abuse including substance abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, violence, neglect, abandonment, and /or chaotic and unstable family life.
As a result, many turn to drugs to escape their nightmares, to self-harming tactics including attempts of suicide to release their pain, and to the wrong male partners to love and feel loved. However disturbing their individual circumstances are, what they have in common are their faith in others, their hope for a brighter future, their resilience for choosing life despite their hardship, their perseverance to improve their circumstances, their desire to be and feel free, and their fear for their future, once released back into their communities.
Every year more than 200,000 youth are involved
with Child Welfare Services, despite these
numbers very little is known about their needs
(Trocmé, Fallon et al. 2005).
Approximately 100 babies are born annually
to homeless teens (Novac, Serge, et al. 2002).
98% of female street youth and 59% of male street youth report being victims of physical or sexual abuse (Novac, Serge, et al. 2002).
75% of Aboriginal girls under the age of 18 are sexually abuse; 50% are under age 14; and 25% are under age 7 (Alliance of Five Research Centres on Violence, 1999).
75% of victims of sexual abuse do not report their abuse (Matthews, 1996).
The average age they leave home is 15 (Beauvais, McKay & Seddon, 2001).
In Quebec, roughly 10% of teens are sexually exploited mainly lured by a boyfriend, a gang and/or for drugs (Marthe-Cousineau & Fleury, 2005).
The average age of entry into juvenile prostitution is between 14 and 17 years (Estes & Weiner, 2001).
Female offenders in placement reveal nearly twice the rate of past physical abuse than males (Sedlak & McPherson, 2010).
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers around the world. In Quebec, the rate of suicide by teens involved with youth protection and residential services is 5.5 to 11 times higher than that of the general youth population (Renaud, Chagnon, et al. 2006).
Abuse in the home or in government care affects us all. The youth of today are the future of our society, the parents and workers of tomorrow.
For reference List please visit: drleannelevy.com (Link: Film)