July/August, 1982, No. 85

Craig Patterson

p. 8.

Take name off abuser list: worker

VANCOUVER -- A gay social service worker's fight to regain his job has expanded to include a battle to have his name removed from a list of potential child abusers.

Rob Joyce was dismissed February 3 from his job as a counsellor at Senator House, a hostel for street youth. Official reasons ranged from using working hours "to attend to matters of personal nature" to "being uncooperative, unpleasant, demanding and hostile." The dismissal followed his efforts to clear his name of an allegation that he paid a hustler $60 for a blow-job (See TBP, March).

While the youth had made the allegations as early as January 17, a complaint was not registered with the Protections Complaints Bureau of the provincial Ministry of Human Resources (MHR) until February 22. MHR policy dictates that complaints must be registered within 24 hours.

Joyce did not hear that a report had been made until May 7. He was not notified by the MHR, but rather was told by the social worker who prepared the report.

The Protections Complaints Bureau established a registry in 1965 listing suspected and confirmed child-abusers. Until recently, registrants were not even notified that a complaint had been made against them, nor were there any grounds for an appeal.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has been struggling for two years to allow suspects the right to appeal, to have policy changed so that registrants are notified and to severely limit access to the information.

In June, following extended pressure from the BCCLA and the provincial Ombudsman' office centring around the Joyce case, MHR deputy minister John Noble announced that new procedures have been implemented. Registrants are now to be notified, and unsubstantiated cases reviewed after three years.

Joyce's case has been included among the "unsubstantiated" cases. "No evidence corroborating the statements of the juvenile was found during the investigation."

Nevertheless the allegation will stand, it seems, for at least three years. Said Joyce, "I feel that I've been one of the best job counsellors in Vancouver and now I'm blacklisted and unemployable."

Meanwhile Joyce is awaiting the release of the Ombudsman's report before taking any further action for his reinstatement.

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