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Bill C-245 (1998), an act to amend the Criminal Code, penalties for sexual offences involving children, to be read the second time and to be referred to a committee.


The following contains an excerpt from the Hansard of the House of Commons, preceded by my comments.

Tim,             (End of March 1998)

My Comments

Consider that there is considerable bias in the excerpt of the discussion that you had sent.  I would not be surprised that if any evidence supporting the bias that was produced in the discussion was biased as well.  I firmly believe that we can't have an honest solution to the problem unless we find honest results and evidence of abuse of all children who are being abused in relation to the type of their perpetrators.

I have a feeling that a far larger proportion of sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by mothers than is being perpetrated by homosexuals.  Why introduce a bill in the wake of an adverse wave of publicity against homosexuals?  It seems to me that we have far more important fish to fry.

That is not a popular view, but it is born out by the meager evidence produced in Frederick Matthews' report "The Invisible Boy" at Health Canada's website [There has since been an update by Health Canada]

The following is from that report (chapter 2)

Female Perpetrators

         As recently as 10 years ago it was a common assumption that females did not or could not sexually abuse children or youth. Even some professionals working in the field believed that women represented only about 1%-3% of sexual abusers at most. However, mounting research evidence about sexual abuse perpetration at the hands of teen and adult females has begun to challenge our assumptions, though these earlier and dated views still tend to predominate.
        The percentage of women and teenage girl perpetrators recorded in case report studies is small and ranges from 3%-10% (Kendall-Tackett and Simon, 1987; McCarty, 1986; Schultz and Jones, 1983; Wasserman and Kappel, 1985). When the victim is male, female perpetrators account for 1%-24% of abusers. When the victim is female, female perpetrators account for 6%-17% of abusers (American Humane Association, 1981; Finkelhor and Russell, 1984; and Finkelhor et al., 1990). In the Ontario Incidence Study, 10% of sexual abuse investigations involved female perpetrators (Trocmé, 1995).
         However, in six studies reviewed by Russell and Finkelhor, female perpetrators accounted for 25% or more of abusers. Ramsay-Klawsnik (1990a) found that adult females were abusers of males 37% of the time, female adolescents 19% of the time. Both of these rates are higher than the same study reported for adult and teen male abusers.

There is something that paints an even more compelling picture in the report (farther down at the same URL).

Dynamics of Female Perpetrated Abuse

         Some research has reported that female perpetrators commit fewer and less intrusive acts of sexual abuse compared to males. While male perpetrators are more likely to engage in anal intercourse and to have the victim engage in oral-genital contact, females tend to use more foreign objects as part of the abusive act (Kaufman, 1995). This study also reported that differences were not found in the frequency of vaginal intercourse, fondling by the victim or abuser, genital body contact without penetration, or oral contact by the abuser.
         Females may be more likely to use verbal coercion than physical force. The most commonly reported types of abuse by female perpetrators include vaginal intercourse, oral sex, fondling, and group sex (Faller, 1987; Hunter et al., 1993). However, women also engage in mutual masturbation, oral, anal, and genital sex acts, show children pornography, and play sex games (Johnson, 1989; Knopp and Lackey, 1987). The research suggests that, overall, female and male perpetrators commit many of the same acts and follow many of the same patterns of abuse against their victims. They also do not tend to differ significantly in terms of their relationship to the victim (most are relatives) or the location of the abuse (Allen, 1991; Kaufman et al., 1995).
         It is interesting to note in the study by Kaufman et al., (1995), that 8% of the female perpetrators were teachers and 23% were baby-sitters, compared to male perpetrators who were 0% and 8% respectively. Finkelhor et al., (1988) also report significantly higher rates of sexual abuse of children by females in daycare settings. Of course Finkelhor’s findings should not surprise us given that women represent the majority of daycare employees.
         Research on teen and adult female sexual abuse perpetrators has found that many suffer from low self-esteem, antisocial behaviour, poor social and anger management skills, fear of rejection, passivity, promiscuity, mental health problems, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mood disorders (Hunter, Lexier, Goodwin, Browne, and Dennis, 1993; Mathews, Matthews, and Speltz, 1989). However, as in the case of male perpetrators, research does not substantiate that highly emotionally disturbed or psychotic individuals predominate among the larger population of female sexual abusers (Faller, 1987).
         There is some evidence that females are more likely to be involved with co-abusers, typically a male, though studies report a range from 25% - 77% (Faller, 1987; Kaufman et al., 1995; McCarty, 1986). However, Mayer (1992), in a review of data on 17 adolescent female sex offenders, found that only 2 were involved with male co-perpetrators. She also found that the young women in this study knew their victims and that none experienced legal consequences for their actions.
         Self-report studies provide a very different view of sexual abuse perpetration and increase the number of female perpetrators substantially. In a retrospective study of male victims, 60% reported being abused by females (Johnson and Shrier, 1987). The same rate was found in a sample of college students (Fritz et al., 1981). In other studies of male university and college students, rates of female perpetration were found at levels as high as 72% - 82% (Fromuth and Burkhart, 1987, 1989; Seidner and Calhoun, 1984). Bell et al., (1991) found that 27% of males were abused by females. In some of these types of studies females represent as much as 50% of sexual abusers (Risin and Koss, 1987). Knopp and Lackey (1987) found that 51% of victims of female sexual abusers were male. It is evident that case report and self-report studies yield very different types of data about prevalence. These extraordinary differences tell us we need to start questioning all of our assumptions about perpetrators and victims of child maltreatment.
         Finally, there is an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by females in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders, and sexually aggressive men, 59% (Petrovich and Templer, 1984), 66% (Groth, 1979), and 80% (Briere and Smiljanich, 1993). A strong case for the need to identify female perpetrators can be found in Table 4, which presents the findings from a study of adolescent sex offenders by O’Brien (1989). Male adolescent sex offenders abused by ‘females only’ chose female victims almost exclusively.

But the most compelling evidence is contained in the table that follows the preceding paragraphs on the same page.

Table 4. Victim Gender Based on Who Previously Abused the Perpetrator

Gender of Perpetrators’
Own Victimizer

Gender of Victim

 

Male or Both

Female Only

Male only

67.5%

32.5%

Female only

6.7%

93.3%

     Berkowitz (1993), in a Winnipeg based study of sexually abused males in treatment groups, found the following rates of perpetration.

Table 5. Gender of Abusers of Male Victims in Treatment Groups

Gender of Abusers

N

%

Intrafamilial Abuse (N=54)
  Male perpetrated 54 100.0 %
  Female perpetrated 39 72.2 %
Extrafamilial Abuse (N=55)
  Male adult 50 90.9 %
  Female adult 30 54.5 %
  Male adolescent 39 70.9 %
  Female adolescent 24 43.6 %

Granted, the sample is too terribly small to extrapolate with confidence to the general population, but what level of level confidence does the sample used in the study provide that forms the basis for John Finlay's proposed legislation? Is the proposed Bill C-245 even based on any study at all? 
   Often, when one tries to apply what we know about the background of socially handicapped people to specific groups when asking questions about members of the groups, the results are surprisingly close to our expectations. 
   My neighbour (who provides suicide counselling to prison inmates) and I discussed that very issue.  He decided to incorporate a question about parental background into his intake questionnaire.  The first seven clients grew up mostly fatherless and were fatherless at the time they were eighteen (results from the overall prison population say that 70% to 80% of incarcerated offenders grew up fatherless).  The next three clients did have a father in their lives.  He will continue to ask the question, as he feels it is far more relevant to the situations of his clients than the prescribed question of whether the client's mother had Gout.

Let's look at the statistics of physical abuse and neglect that Frederick Matthews presents in his next paragraph (I arranged some of the data into a table and added the column with the figures on relative odds).

Physical Abuse and Neglect

From the Ontario Incidence Study (investigations of child maltreatment)

[Child Abuse and Neglect in Ontario: Incidence and Characteristics Nico Trocomé, Debra McPhee, and Kwok Kwan Tam

     This article presents descriptive findings from the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS). OIS is the first Canadian study to examine the incidence and characteristics of reported maltreatment. The study is based on a survey form completed by child protection workers on a representative sample of 2,447 investigated children. OIS found an incidence rate of reported maltreatment of 21 per thousand children, and a 27% substantiation rate. These rates are compared to those in the United States. (abstract from http://infoweb.magi.com/~crccy/docs/newab.html)]

The following information was excerpted from that and quoted by Frederick Matthews:

physical abuse 41%
sexual abuse 24%
neglect 30%
emotional maltreatment 10%
other forms of maltreatment 2%
two or more forms of suspected maltreatment in 12%
substantiated maltreatment 27%
suspected maltreatment 30%
unsubstantiated maltreatment 42%

Note: The following statistics do not specify rates of abuse.  They do specify the rates of children alleged to have been abused.  Although from the preceding table it is apparent that 27% of allegations were substantiated, it is not possible to tell from the data presented by Frederick Matthews what the substantiation rate for each individual category in the following tables was.

Gender of investigated children

male female
  All maltreatment investigations 49% 51%
  Sexual abuse investigations 35% 65%

 

Parental caretakers of investigated children

%

% of all families [1] Relative Odds [3]  
Both biological parents 34% 78.7 1  
Biological parent and a step parent 19% 4.3 32.8  
Single mother 36% 14.6 5.1  
Single father 6% 1.1 405.4 [2]
Notes: 1) Based on national distribution of children aged 0 to 11 year per family type 1994-1995. [Growing up in Canada, StatCan and Human Resources Canada, page 29]
2) If a very small number of fathers was identified that would be expected.
   The size of the sample of children about which report were made (2,447 in all) does not permit to draw conclusions about how many fathers were involved, although it does permit to calculate that 27 reports of abuse of a child  by a single father were investigated, but then it may be that none of those reports were substantiated.
3) The likelihood of that happening to a child compared to children in the care of both biological parents.

 

Primary source of income for investigated children's family %  of all families[1] Relative Odds[2]
Social Assistance 38% 11.4 14.7
Other 72% 88.6 1
Notes: 1) Based on Ontario distribution of children aged 0 to 11 year by main source of income 1994-1995. [Growing up in Canada, StatCan and Human Resources Canada, page 35]
2) A child in a family on social assistance is 14.7 times more likely to be investigated on account of abuse allegations than a child in a family  that is not on social assistance.

 

Type of housing in which investigated
children resided
Subsidized housing 17%
Other 83%

         In the U.S., figures provided by the American Association for the Protection of Children (1985) reveal that most physical abuse and most minor and major injuries of children are perpetrated by women.  Other research evidence indicates that mothers represent the majority of physical abusers and neglecters of children (Johnson and Showers, 1985; Rosenthal, 1988). Archambault et al., (1989) found that mothers are the major perpetrators of physical abuse for both male and female runaways.

         It is evident that much of the physical abuse and neglect of children occurs in single mother led families living in high stress environments. Stressed to the limit, these mothers take out their frustrations on their children. Some of these mothers are also victims of spousal violence, child abuse, or suffer from a number of current and chronic life stressors. Because mothers typically are the primary caregivers of children and spend more time with them, it makes sense that they would show up in larger numbers in the statistics on child physical abuse and neglect.

         Though females account for more of the physical abuse and neglect of children, there is some evidence that males inflict more serious injuries on their victims, particularly male victims (Rosenthal, 1988). Fathers are also two times more likely by the perpetrator in cases involving child fatalities (Jason and Andrek, 1983). In other studies no sex differences, in terms of severity of abuse or child fatalities in two-parent families, were found (Gelles, 1989; Greenland, 1987). However, because women still tend to be the primary caregivers to children, the emotional impact of mother-perpetrated abuse, regardless of the form, may be greater on children than a fathers’ abuse.

Although Frederick Matthews explains why and that men cause greater physical injuries to children and that they do so more often, Bureau of Justice Statistics child-murder data from the US do indicate that biological mothers are the perpetrators of child murder in 55% of the cases and natural fathers are the perpetrators in  6% of the cases (with the second-most frequent murderers of children being the biological mothers' boyfriends).

Frederick Matthews makes a very impassioned plea that additional research is required to determine the degree to which boys are being subjected to all types of abuse, but he does indicate that there are very good reasons to assume that the abuse of boys, including sexual abuse by women is far underreported and gives many reasons to substantiate that.

Much of our legislation is being introduced based on waves of popularity for a specific issue that gained public attention.  In the case of Bill C-245 it is the sexual abuse of boys by homosexuals.  However, that would encompass only a small fraction of the sexual abuse of boys.  We will not have equitable justice in relation to any type of abuse of boys or children if we insist to govern by popular opinions promulgated in the media.  What is required is to make an objective analysis of any situation before we engage on the introduction of any legislation.  Regardless of the current attempts to formulate such bills into gender-neutral language, it will be the popular opinion or, more correctly, "politically correct" perceptions that will govern the application of any law.

There is no objectivity in our justice system.  Contrary to claims, Justice is not blind.  Furthermore, Justice is a lady with an awful weapon that seems always aimed at men.

All the best,

Walter

PS.  For good measure, I would like to throw in another item of information.  Based on the findings shown in the Grand Jury Report for Humboldt County in California, of figures pertaining to infanticide being falsely reported as SIDS (a rate of 50% in all of the SIDS cases in Humboldt County — at a rate of 3.4 cases of SIDS reported per 1000 live births) and extrapolating from that and using the average SIDS rate for California of about 1.7 cases of SIDS per 1000 live births, it may be that about 3,100 child murders every year  in the USA are being falsely reported as SIDS cases.
   Extrapolating from that to Canada, that would mean that as many as about 400 cases of child murder occur in Canada every year that are currently being reported as SIDS.  That would be about ten times the number currently reported for infanticide.  Now why does Mr. John Finlay not sink his teeth into that one?  Would he dare?  Will anyone dare? [*]
   Think of it this way:  the most popular weapons for murdering our children are pillows and mothers breasts used to smother children! (How does anyone register those weapons?) Will Mr. John Finlay call for life sentences for that as well?

* As of 2004 04 06, nobody in Canada has dared to do that.  The Province of Alberta launched a Family Violence Roundtable in 2004, aiming at eradicating all family violence in Alberta, but one half of the perpetrators and more than half of the victims are not being considered much in what is developing.  Men as victims of spousal abuse are not a popular topic of discussion amongst bureaucrats that cater to the feminist dogma of "men bad, women good."
   As to children that are being abused by women, those are quite plainly the forgotten victims.  Out of such extremist ideological biases will evolve the next wave of anti-male FV legislation and bureaucratic procedures that will sharpen the tools with which to remove fathers form the lives of their children and intensify the war against our families.

Update 2003 05 23

Infanticide — "SIDS" in Australia; four children killed in one family

Proving that women who kill no more than one of their infants get away with murder, Kathleen Folbigg raised the suspicion of the authorities only after she had killed her fourth child of her four children she had killed, a 19-month-old baby girl.
   Mind, you, if her husband would not have found her diary, she would have gotten away with murdering that child, too. (Full Story)

____________________
Update by Health Canada:  Adolescent Sex Offenders

Information from ... The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence

Female Adolescent Sex Offenders

XXX. Though a majority of adolescent sex offenders are male, research emerging over the past ten years has begun to document female sex offending. Studies of hospital, child welfare agency, and treatment programs have found that females comprise between 3% - 10% of the sex offender population. General population and victimization surveys report significantly higher numbers and extend the range up to 50% (12)

2 and even higher (13)

3, depending on the victim sample population studied.
[My emphasis --WHS]

lydia@travel-net.com wrote:

This Liberal backbencher introduced a Private Members Bill to strengthen the penalties for sexual offences including paedophilia. Below is a small section of his speech. I can send you the entire hour of debate on this bill if you wish.
Tim Bl.

House of Commons Hansard — Tuesday, March 17, 1998

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

CRIMINAL CODE

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford, Lib.), seconded by the hon. member for Kamloops, moved that Bill C-245, an act to amend the Criminal Code, penalties for sexual offences involving children, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I stand today to perform one of my most important duties as the member of Parliament for Oxford. This duty is to introduce legislation when I see that current legislation is not responding to a need within our society.

Over the last year and a half I have identified such a need. I have found that those who sexually prey upon our children are merely being slapped on the wrist by our judicial system. This seems horrendous to me and to my constituents. Finding that the sentences for these crimes against our children are inadequate, I introduce Bill C-245 which we have before us today.

I would like to thank the NDP member for Kamloops for seconding the bill. The bill will increase the maximum sentence for sexual assault on a child to life imprisonment without possibility of parole for 25 years. As well the sentence for forcible confinement of a child is increased to 14 years from the current 10. The definition of child pornography would extend to any information or reproduction transmitted by electronic means.

In the next few minutes I want to share with hon. members why my constituents and I believe the bill should be passed by Parliament.

The current maximum sentence for sexual assault is 10 years. According to information obtained through the adult criminal court survey, the average sentence given in 1993 and 1994 for level two sexual assault and level three sexual assault was 1,287 days, less than four years. Yet level two and level three sexual assault are sexual assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault. These statistics were compiled using data from nine provincial jurisdictions.

There is no real distinction between sexual assault on a child and other charges of sexual assault.

I would like to share with this House the average sentence for sexual touching of a child under 14. For this charge, in which sexual intent must be proven, the average sentence imposed by the courts was 288 days, not even a full year. Furthermore, 77% of the accused in solved violent incidents involving children under 12 had a relationship with the victim. In 31% of these cases, the accused was a member of the victim's immediate family.

As members can see, these are not statistics that make one sleep easily at night.

I spent 36 years of my life in education as a teacher, union representative, principal and superintendent. I worked with our children. I am witness to the effects of abuse on children. I know the innocence of a child is destroyed by sexual abuse. I have heard the confusion and self-guilt in the mind of a sensitive teenage boy after his experience with a pedophile.

We as legislators must ask ourselves how an average sentence of 377 days for level one sexual assault can atone for the loss of a child's innocence and self-respect.

Bill C-245 speaks directly to sexual assault upon a child. The bill seeks to amend section 271 of the Criminal Code by increasing the maximum sentence to imprisonment for life with no parole eligibility for 25 years if found guilty of sexual assault on a child under eight or under fourteen who was under the offender's trust or authority or dependent on the offender.

I want to make it very clear that this sentence is the same sentence as that for first degree murder. It is my belief and that of many of my constituents that in the very worst cases of child sexual assault the sentence should be equal to that of murder. Why? Because these assaults have murdered the child's soul, the child's self-esteem and the child's mind.

We cannot see a Martin Kruze throw himself off a bridge without knowing why. His abuser led him there and pushed him off with his continued abuse as surely as if he were present.

-----------
Tim Bloedow
Fax: (613) 744-7336

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."  -- Benjamin Franklin

 

See also:

________________
Last updated 1999 06 04
Updates:
2002 08 03 (added reference to Female Adolescent Sex Offenders)
2003 05 23 (added reference to "SIDS" murders in Australia)
2004 04 06 (reformated)
2013 03 08 (removed reference to dvstats.org -- website no longer functions)