This case concerns when and how civil liability can arise from the actions of child protection workers in response to reports of suspected child abuse. JP, a mother of four children, brought a successful claim against the Director of Child, Family and Community Services and British Columbia for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and misfeasance in public office.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia determined, among other findings, that the government representatives first charged with responding to JP’s allegations of sexual abuse were “predisposed” to the view that a parent may fabricate allegations of child abuse, or coach children to make allegations of child abuse, to advance that parent’s interests in family law proceedings. The Province of BC has now appealed the BC Supreme Court findings of liability against it.
Application for leave to intervene – BC Court of Appeal
West Coast LEAF’s involvement
West Coast LEAF applied for leave to intervene in this case to argue that:
- Entrenched stereotypes about women and mothers who make allegations of sexual abuse can have a significant and negative impact on child protection investigations or proceedings; and
- The civil liability legal analyses applied to child protection authorities must both recognize the existence of these discriminatory stereotypes and reject reliance on them.
Unfortunately, we were denied leave to intervene in this case.