Indigenous advocates applaud compensation for student-on-student abuse

Indigenous advocates applaud compensation for student-on-student abuse
From CBC - March 13, 2018

Indigenous advocates are praising thefederal government's plan to pursuesettlements with former residential school residents who suffered student-on-student abuse and they think the final number of victims will be far larger than the 240 cited by Ottawa.

"I think it's a really good thing and a steptowardhealing for those people who are affected by this particular aspect of the residential school experience," saidAmy Bombay,anassistant professor at the School of Nursingand Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University.

According to a government newsrelease, thisnew action to pursue negotiated settlements with survivors whose claims of student-on-student abuse were dismissed or did not receive fair compensation couldhelp roughly 240 eligible former students.

Both Bombay and Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, said they believe the actualnumber of victims is larger.

"I would estimate that it would be a lot higher," said Bombay.

More victims may come forward

"We know from theIndependent Assessment Processstatisticsthat roughly 40 per cent of all of theIAPclaims were related to student-on-student abuse," said Moran, adding there were about 40,000IAPclaimantsacross the country.

Moran said he believes the announcement might help other survivors come forward and share their stories of abuse.

"These schools were so unbelievably unhealthy and they were so dangerous for students on the inside that telling the truth in thoseenvironmentswas next to impossible," he said.

Bombay spent over a year researching student-on-student abuse at residential schools.

She interviewed 43 health care providers across the countrywho work directly with residential school survivors includingpsychologistsand support workers tobetter understand the nature of the physical, mental and sexual abuse that occurred.

"It really is part of the residential school history and legacy that has not really been acknowledged within the mainstream dialogue," she said.

Silence surrounding student-on-student abuse

Former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation CommissionSen. Murray Sinclairhas referred tostudent-on-student abuse as an"unspoken truth" of residential schools.

Bombay agrees and attributes the lack of publicity the problem has attracted to the nature of the abuse itself.

A flawed process


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