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Evidence of meeting #59 for Justice and Human Rights in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was young.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Paul Gillespie  Consultant, As an Individual
Lynn Barr-Telford  Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada
Tamra Thomson  Director, Legislation and Law Reform, Canadian Bar Association
Margaret Gallagher  Treasurer, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association
Kevin Kindred  Branch Section Chair, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference, Canadian Bar Association
Judy Nuttall  Coordinator, Affiliated with Citizens Addressing Sexual Exploitation, White Ribbon Against Pornography
Steve Sullivan  President, Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
Martha Mackinnon  Executive Director, Justice for Children and Youth
Karen Mihorean  Assistant Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada
William Trudell  Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers
Jason Gratl  President, B.C. Civil Liberties Association
Kim Pate  Executive Director, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Andrew Brett  Member, Age of Consent Committee
Nicholas Dodds  Member, Age of Consent Committee
Dave Quist  Executive Director, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
Daphne Gilbert  Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa, As an Individual
Christina Godlewska  Articled Student, B.C. Civil Liberties Association

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Ms. Barr-Telford, I did not ask you to repeat the information you've already stated; I understood that. My question rather has to do with other statistics we heard regarding section 153, dealing with sexual exploitation. According to these statistics, once a case is reported, up to 62% of charges are either stayed or withdrawn. That's already at another stage. Eight per cent of cases are reported to police and could be brought before the courts. However, once they are, 62% of them are either stayed or withdrawn.

Do you have any information for us on that?

9:55 a.m.

Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Lynn Barr-Telford

We do have data—I believe we've brought some with us—and we can supply others on the numbers of cases that are withdrawn or stayed, but we can't speak to any underlying reasons for why that happens. We can count the incidents but not speak to the reasons for why.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

You don't know on what grounds these cases are stayed?

9:55 a.m.

Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Lynn Barr-Telford

No, we do not.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

So, very few cases are reported to the police, and once they are, once they get far enough along, they are then stayed.

Do I still have some time, Mr. Chairman?

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Yes.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Regarding Internet luring which you referred to, Mr. Gillespie, do you have any further statistics on the number of people or children involved? I know this type of practice is widely condemned. It is often discussed, but the talk isn't supported by anything. Could you refer us to a study on this matter? It is something that matters to me a great deal, and we've denounced that type of behaviour at every turn, but we never seem to be able to get additional information or specific studies on the extent of this problem.

9:55 a.m.

Consultant, As an Individual

Paul Gillespie

Mr. Chair, the problem with the Internet and it being relatively new technology, coupled with the fact that children of very tender years, again, do not generally report and aren't likely to follow through on charges for a number of reasons.... The short answer is there are no specific studies that I'm aware of that can directly answer your question.

I can simply speak from my own experience in relation to why it seems like the rate of reporting is so low, and then, once reported, why it seems like most charges aren't followed through on. Again, I can only speak from my particular experience in those cases.

9:55 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

I appreciate you sharing your personal experience with us, as several have done before you. However, at this stage in our committee's deliberations, we would expect a stronger case supported by specific data. We need to go further than describing the personal experiences of citizens in this country. We need more substantial studies.

This scourge of Internet luring requires in-depth studies, and we need to find a way to address the problem. What do you think?

9:55 a.m.

Consultant, As an Individual

Paul Gillespie

Again, the technology being so new, the level of law enforcement that is capable of dealing with it, the number of officers and actually cities and law enforcement agencies in Canada that are trained to deal with it.... It is simply a newer phenomenon, this whole Internet luring thing. Thus, the numbers and the studies simply haven't been done yet, because it is so new. That's about the only thing I can say about it.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

Thank you, Ms. Freeman.

Mr. Comartin.

March 29th, 2007 / 10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you all for being here.

I'd like to follow up, Mr. Gillespie, with you, and with Ms. Barr-Telford.

I understand and I agree with you that it's just about impossible at this point. But Ms. Barr-Telford, do we have any numbers at all? You gave us the percentage, that about 90% of the sexual assaults and exploitation of youth and children are by family members or close associates of family members, leaving 10% that are basically by strangers. Of that 10%, do we have even a rough idea of how much would be as a result of luring over the Internet?

Mr. Gillespie, as well, have you seen any statistics or any sense of that?

10 a.m.

Consultant, As an Individual

Paul Gillespie

No is the short answer. Again, it's so new that the numbers would probably be less than, or just around, 100 cases in Canada that officers might have been involved in, cases of active Internet luring. Typically they're the ones we read about, or they're in the media. Again, it has just been a very much under-reported offence.

10 a.m.

Karen Mihorean Assistant Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

All we have on luring are the actual numbers that Lynn gave you of charges from our police statistics. We don't have it broken down by relationship.

10 a.m.

President, Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime

Steve Sullivan

Could I just quickly add a point there? I think when you look at how young people define their use of the Internet, if they've been chatting with someone for six months, he's not a stranger. He is a friend; he is someone they know. So how we might define “strangers” and how young people define “friends” and “colleagues” is quite different.

10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Within the luring charges—and again, Mr. Gillespie, if you have any comments on it—is there any sense of how many of them, if you take the 100 cases, are domestic and how many are international?

10 a.m.

Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Lynn Barr-Telford

No, we are not able to provide that information. The only information, as Karen mentioned, that we have at the moment is the number of offences of luring that we're able to present.

10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Gillespie, have you any sense of, of those 100 cases, how many would be domestic and how many would be international?

10 a.m.

Consultant, As an Individual

Paul Gillespie

I know there have been some international ones, which are, again, well publicized. The majority would be domestic. Certainly in the United States, where these types of cases have been investigated more thoroughly and with more experience than us for the last several years, they're typically out of state but simply within their borders. They're not very often international.

10 a.m.

Assistant Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Karen Mihorean

What we could do is look at the 116 cases of luring that we have, and if there has been a charge, we could look at the relationship through our police-reported data. We'd be happy to provide that to the committee if there is some information there. It's only 116 cases, though, that we do have since 2003.

10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Thank you.

10 a.m.

Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Lynn Barr-Telford

That would be information on relationship, not information on whether it was international.

10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

I understand.

Ms. Barr-Telford, with regard to section 159, on anal intercourse, I have statistics up to 2003-04, showing that in 2003-04 there were 78 not convicted and two convicted, so there were 80 cases in that year. Do you have statistics for 2005 and 2006?

10 a.m.

Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Lynn Barr-Telford

No; 2003-04 is our most recent year of available data.

10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Kindred, with regard to that charge, do I understand that the Bar Association's position is that it should be completely taken off the books, not just the age reduced to 16, if we go with age 16 on this bill?