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At-risk youths mostly female

Girls at risk are missing women of tomorrow, says brother of Dawn Crey

David Hogben
Vancouver Sun

Friday, October 18, 2002

Profiles of youth at risk in the Downtown Eastside are strikingly similar to those of the 63 women missing from the area, according research done by Vancouver police and Simon Fraser University.

The joint project, done by criminology student Natasha Madon, found native females are "over-represented" among at-risk youth encountered by Vancouver police.

The five-week investigation between June 3 and July 12, 2002 was a follow-up to a similar report conducted over six weeks in 2000.

The first study found that 75 per cent of the youths were female -- and that 31 per cent of them were native. In the second study, 62 per cent were female, but the proportion of natives had risen to 33 per cent.

Sto:lo nation member Ernie Crey said the numbers are profoundly disturbing.

"These girls are in clear danger of becoming tomorrow's missing women," said Crey, whose sister Dawn is among Vancouver's missing women.

Native women account for about 50 per cent of the 63 women listed as missing from the Downtown Eastside and the same percentage of the 15 women that Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert (Willy) Pickton is accused of murdering.

Native Indians comprise only 1.53 per cent of the Greater Vancouver population.

Downtown Eastside Inspector Ken Frail said the study found little improvement in youth at risk from a report conducted two years ago. And Frail acknowledged he is not aware of any changes that offer hope that the situation will change.

Frail said the report did not attempt to deal with why native girls are so over-represented.

Crey, however, said the report clearly indicates the failure of the federal department of Indian affairs and northern development and the provincial ministry of children and family development.

"Not enough is being done for these individuals before they leave their communities," Crey said.

The first six-week study found 158 children at risk, while the second found 125.

The report suggested the declining number did not indicate there are fewer children at risk, rather that many of the high-risk youths were becoming more adept at avoiding police.

"As a result, while there are still numerous at-risk youth in Vancouver, they have become less visible to police in recent years," the report stated.

The survey also found that 62 per cent of the at-risk youths admitted to using illegal drugs and 28 per cent said they did not. The rest did not respond.

 Copyright  2002 Vancouver Sun

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Updated: August 21, 2016