VACFSS advocates for social justice and human rights of Indigenous Peoples for reforming B.C.’s Police Act. Its submission to the committee focused on three main areas: trauma-informed practice, systemic racism and community engagement.
A report funded by B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner found a ‘disturbing’ pattern of discrimination among police services in the province.
The Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) is an active and strong advocate for social justice and human rights of Indigenous Peoples. This past July, VACFSS participated in a Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act panel discussion of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
VACFSS began its presentation by urging that governing bodies implement the recommendations outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIGW), and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report. These recommendations provide cultural safety for Indigenous Peoples and provide a pathway forward toward reconciliation. VACFSS has enacted the recommendations in child welfare and continues to test itself against those standards. The recommendations acknowledge the incredibly troubled and traumatic history that Indigenous Peoples face in Canada, and they provide guidance and wisdom from Indigenous ways of knowing.
VACFSS’ submission to the committee included the following:
- To practice from a trauma-informed approach and to look at the MMIWG’s definition of trauma-informed practice. This is essential to front-line workers at every level of a justice system that has power over Indigenous Peoples. Also, to implement Gladue principles that have been adopted in different levels of legislation, and protect them at every level of legislation.
- To address systemic racism. Indigenous children in care report feeling “invisible” in our community. The response to our children should be one of investment and support rather than blame.
- Community engagement. To enter in relationships with our police agencies with greater confidence of the response, knowing the response is situated in a trauma-informed approach, and one that serves our families in moving forward from their oppressive state in our society.
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