The family of a Langford teen who was murdered by two of her peers, is calling on the province to enact a bill which they hope will help prevent future murders like hers from happening.
Nine years ago, 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor was sexually assaulted and murdered by 16-year-old Kruse Wellwood and 17-year-old Cameron Moffat.
On the ninth anniversary of the horrific case, B.C. Liberal Mental Health and Addictions Critic Jane Thornthwaite reintroduced the Safe Care Act, also known as Kimberly’s Law, to the legislature.
Kimberly’s Law says schools should implement threat assessment protocols to identify students or others who have made threats or have engaged in threatening behaviour. It also says youths identified in the threat assessment protocol should be given mandatory counseling and treatment.
Another one of the proposals in the law says violent young offenders aged 16 or older who have been convicted of first or second degree murder should be transferred to adult court automatically.
However, reintroducing Kimberly’s Law isn’t enough according to Proctor’s aunt, Jo-Anne Landolt.
“We don’t feel it’s probably going to go anywhere unless there’s immense pressure on the NDP,” Landolt said.
The family has been attempting to work with Judy Darcy, minister of Mental Health and Addictions in B.C., but Landolt said Darcy has not been interested in the law because it involves involuntary counseling and treatment.
Landolt said she met with the minister in person once and then was deferred to Darcy’s assistant and deputy minister twice after.
A spokesperson from the Premier’s office confirmed that Landolt met with the minister on May 15 of last year and with staff on June 15 and Nov. 19.
They also said “the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Children and Family Development is working to address the gaps in the mental health and addictions system.”
“We are looking at B.C.’s Mental Health Act and all related statutes, the suite of services that would be provided before and after any kind of involuntary admission, and the appropriateness and need for separate involuntary admission legislation.”
Proctor’s family argues that involuntary, mandatory counseling and treatment is necessary because they believe many youths and their parents would not be interested in treatment options if given a choice.
“The ones that aren’t going to walk in and seek out help are the ones that sometimes need it the most,” Landolt said.
Landolt also noted that she met with Premier John Horgan before he was elected to office in January, 2014, but has not heard from him since.
“This happened in his riding and he doesn’t have the audacity to come meet with us?” Landolt said. “He was right on board before he was elected.”
The premier’s office said in an e-mail that Horgan has “entrusted the members of his cabinet to take on critically important issues, like this one, and they continue to keep the Premier’s office up to date on developments.”
“Our government is working hard to ensure more supports are available to young people struggling with mental health issues and addictions,” said Minister Judy Darcy in an e-mail statement. “I have met with many families including the Proctor family and ministry staff have continued to have an open dialogue with the Proctors and other families about how to improve the system to protect young people throughout British Columbia.”
Landolt and Kimberly’s grandmother, Linda Proctor, said they want the law to be non-partisan. They said they do not care who is in office when it is enacted, they just want to see more action.
“It’s for the sake of our children and our children’s future,” Proctor said. “We’re trying to help our kids.”
They also said they believe the bill could address a variety of issues like addiction, self-harm, sexual exploitation and escalating violent behaviour.
As of next year, Wellwood and Moffat will have been in jail for 10 years and eligible for parole. Both Landolt and Proctor said the family is still having a hard time with Kimberly’s death and are always worried about the two men who committed her murder entering the community again.
“Two psychiatrists said they need 25 to 40 years of intense therapy before showing any signs of improvement,” Proctor said. “You can’t tell me they’re getting that in prison, and it certainly hasn’t been 25 years.”
While the Safe Care Act cannot change the past, Landolt and Proctor said they have been fighting for the last eight years to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again.
The Proctor family is now calling on community members to write to their local MLAs about moving the Safe Care Act forward so it can be passed. They said they do not want it to expire and have to be reintroduced again.
“It’s good that it has been reintroduced but it would be better if they do something after this,” Landolt said. “We’re trying to put pressure on them to put it up for debate.”