June 16, 2015 12:05 pm

Demand for youth protection services at an all-time high

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MONTREAL – There are countless measures in place to prevent and detect child abuse.

All the same, the number of reported cases in the province has gone up by nearly 5 per cent since last year.

That’s what the Directors of Youth Protection (DYP) services in the Greater Montreal area reported as they tabled their annual report on Monday.

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The City of Laval seemed to be hit hardest with a 25 per cent increase in reported cases of physical abuse over the last two years.

“When children come to youth protection it’s because some of their basic needs are not furnished,” said Assunta Gallo from the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’île-de-Montreal.

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse.

“It’s absolutely worrisome to see that we have such a high increase,” insisted Gallo.

“From 1971 – the inception of the youth protection act – we have increased by 189 per cent. It’s definitely alarming.”

Laval’s DYP downplayed the surge, and underlined the fact that the city is home to many new immigrants.

“What’s special in Laval is immigrants are a quarter of the population,” said Jacques Dubé, Laval’s youth protection director.

“There are some measures parents use to discipline their children that for some can be considered abuse.”

Dubé added that cases are often closed once parents meet with professionals.

But more reported cases could also mean that there is less tolerance of child abuse.

Thirteen per cent of calls received by Kids Help Phone tackle family relationships and often violence.

“It doesn’t mean that all the kids that are calling us with family problems means that there’s abuse in the family, but it means there’s a concern,” said Andréanne Deschamps, senior manager at Kids Help Phone.

With 500 calls a day, it sometimes falls on the operators to report cases of abuse youth protection.

“Sometimes when there is abuse in the family one of the choices is to help them see who they can talk to,” said Deschamps.

“Sometimes we call youth protection with them.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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