Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Likelihood of FASD leading to victimization overlooked

  • Print

Numerous studies have shown people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder have a high likelihood of committing a crime.

What isn't as well-known is the same disabilities that make a kid with FASD more likely to get into trouble make a kid more likely to become a victim.

Others can easily persuade them to do or say things. They don't always understand certain behaviours -- sexual touching for example -- are wrong.

More than half of people with FASD have serious mental disabilities and extremely low IQs.

People who are easily manipulated, don't always understand what is going on around them and aren't smart enough to know when they are being taken advantage of, make easy targets.

Kids with FASD are also more likely to end up in high-risk living situations and are at greater risk of homelessness and substance abuse, making them more prone to the violence of street life.

Legal Aid Manitoba lawyer Corey La Berge said kids with FASD are at risk in every way.

"I see children who are vulnerable in the community, vulnerable at home," he said. "Children who end up struggling in school and then not attending school, struggling to make friendships with social acquaintances."

Statistics Canada reports people with mental developmental delays or behavioural problems are four times more likely than others to become a victim of a crime. And FASD is the leading cause of developmental delays in Canada.

A famous research study on kids with FASD in the U.S. Pacific Northwest found 72 per cent of FASD kids studied had been victims of abuse.

Evelyn Milner's daughter fell prey to the influence of others when she was 18. One man several years her senior and with a "criminal record more than three feet long" convinced her to move in with him and falsely accuse her twin brother of sexual abuse. He controlled her every move and phoned her at work so often she was eventually fired. After her family helped her escape from his clutches, she ended up marrying a foreign student a week after she met him at a bar.

"I really think he wanted to become a Canadian citizen," said Milner, who asked her real name not be used to protect her child. "He didn't look after her."

Within a year, her daughter was pregnant. The man threatened to divorce her if she kept the baby. She had an abortion. He divorced her anyway.

"She will agree with whatever you want," said Milner.

A Justice Canada report looking at victims' services workers' experience with people with FASD found some estimated as many as half their clients in victims' services programs likely had the disability. Most who worked with FASD victims also noted the justice system is ill-equipped to handle their needs as victims.

The study quoted a victims' services worker talking about a boy with FASD testifying against his father in a sexual abuse case. The prosecutor was warned the child would make a horrible witness and couldn't understand abstract questions. But the questions posed were not direct enough and the kid struggled to answer. His attempts to appear brave came off as his being cocky.

It resulted in the judge accusing the boy of lying and the father being released.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2011 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets defencemen ready to face adversity

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 110621 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 -  Doug Chorney, president Keystone Agricultural Producers flight over South Western Manitoba to check on the condition of farming fields. MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
my2011poy

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think it's a good idea for Theresa Oswald to enter NDP leadership race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google