CanFASD Canada FASD Research Network
Truth Reconciliation Report: Prioritise Prevention, Diagnosis Support for Individuals Affected by FASD
The Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Research Network Endorses the Truth Reconciliation Commission Recommendations on FASD
VANCOUVER, June 2, 2015 – The historic Truth & Reconciliation report released today offers specific recommendations regarding the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. CanFASD endorses the recommendations to increase community resources to diagnose, support, and prevent FASD, and to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for offenders affected by FASD.
Today’s landmark report adds to the growing movement of community and political leaders calling for statutory change.
“Supporting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in implementing evidence-based, culturally appropriate and community-driven responses to FASD must remain a high priority for Canadians,” said CanFASD Executive Director Dr. Amy Salmon. “Through research, we are always learning more about this misunderstood condition; however there are still significant gaps in knowledge. Aboriginal peoples have been leaders in identifying new and effective approaches to addressing FASD. Partnership-based research is fundamental to this effort.”
Today’s Truth & Reconciliation report makes the following recommendations regarding FASD:
33. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to recognize as a high priority the need to address and prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and to develop, in collaboration with Aboriginal people, FASD preventive programs that can be delivered in a culturally appropriate manner.
34. We call upon the government of Canada, the provinces, and territories to undertake reforms to the criminal justice system to better address the needs of offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) including:
i. Providing increased community resources and powers for courts to ensure that FASD is properly diagnosed, and that appropriate community supports are in place for those with FASD.
ii. Enacting statutory exemptions from mandatory minimum sentences of imprisonment for offenders affected by FASD.
iii. Providing community, correctional, and parole resources to maximize the ability of people with FASD to live in the community.
Last month the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights tabled its report on Bill C-583, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Health practitioners and social work leaders reported evidence that shows incorporating FASD screening and diagnosis into justice settings helps reduce recidivism, enhance public safety and improve outcomes.
“CanFASD has been acknowledged by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as a vital contributor to the national discussion on FASD,” noted CanFASD Strategic Research Lead for Justice Issues Dr. Michelle Stewart. “The TRC’s recommendations highlight multiple concerns with the justice system, including the need for comprehensive criminal justice reform that addresses the needs of those living with FASD. We agree with these recommendations and commit to long-term research and the work needed to address the legacies of residential schools in Canada.”
CanFASD is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network with collaborators, researchers and partners across the country. It is Canada’s first comprehensive national FASD research network.
CanFASD’s unique partnership brings together many scientific viewpoints to address the complexities of FASD, with a focus on ensuring that research knowledge is translated to community and policy action. Our mission is to produce and maintain national, collaborative research designed for sharing with all Canadians, leading to prevention strategies and improved support services for people affected by FASD.
Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
For more information on CanFASD and Bill C-583, please visit: www.canfasd.ca/bill-c583