Should treatment be mandatory for self-harming, violent kids?
A Liberal MLA is introducing a bill that could see minors confined or forced into treatment programs in serious cases.
Jane Thornthwaite put forward the Self Care Act for a second time on Wednesday, a bill that addresses scenarios involving with self-harm, addictions, violent behaviour and sexual exploitation.
"Since I first introduced this bill in 2018, nearly 20 young people have died from overdoses," the critic for mental health and addictions said in a statement.
If enacted, it would be used as a court-mandated action in "worst-case scenarios," the MLA said in a release.
Thornthwaite believes a law that would see children confined in the most serious cases could help save lives.
Family members of slain teen Kimberly Proctor urged the government to consider the bill. The 18-year-old was raped and murdered by two teens in 2010.
The boys pleaded guilty, and were described in psychological and psychiatric reports presented by the Crown as psychopaths with a high risk to re-offend. The doctors said one of the boys received couselling for violence at the age of six, and was sexually attracted to the psychological and physical suffering of others.
The other, according to reports, was infatuated with knifes and arson, and was evaluated at age 11 for escalating violence against family members. Defence lawyers did not question the experts' reports.
The victim's family believes that, had such a law existed at the time, the boys may have received mandatory treatment, which could have saved Proctor's life.
"Kruse Wellwood and Cameron Moffat both spiralled out of control while their community, school, their peers watched. Nothing was done," the girl's aunt, Linda Proctor, said.
"I don't think they would've gone voluntarily for treatment or counselling."
The mental health addictions minister says the government is looking at the issue. In addition to competing views on mandatory treatment, there are also charter issues involved.