PEI

New child advocate to review death of 9-year-old P.E.I. girl

P.E.I.'s new child and youth advocate is conducting a review of the death of a nine-year-old girl that Charlottetown police are investigating as a homicide-suicide.

Marvin Bernstein gathering facts to determine if investigation warranted

Charlottetown police discovered the bodies of a woman and her nine-year-old daughter in their Sherwood home in the early hours of July 18. (Tony Davis/CBC)

P.E.I.'s new child and youth advocate is conducting a review of the death of a nine-year-old girl that Charlottetown police are investigating as a murder-suicide.

The girl's body and the body of her mother were discovered by Charlottetown police over the weekend.

Marvin Bernstein, who was sworn in last week as P.E.I.'s first independent child and youth advocate, said the office is now in "fact-finding mode."

"Any member of the public who has information related to this child death has an obligation to not only report that information to the police but also to this office," he said.

Bernstein said they will use any information they gather to determine whether there were gaps in the provision of any government service that may have contributed to the child's death.

"We also look at whether or not this is a larger systemic issue that affects the provision of services generally, more to this one child or this one mother, but also to children and families within the province."

How can this vehicle be used to prevent further tragedies from occurring in the future?— Marvin Bernstein

Bernstein said the office may then choose to do an investigation. The objective, he said, is not to find fault or establish legal responsibility, but rather to determine whether there is an opportunity to improve the quality of services for children, youth and families within the province.

"How can this vehicle be used to prevent further tragedies from occurring in the future? And this is an opportunity to expect a higher level of government responsibility and accountability to the public."

Bernstein said the review process is confidential, but if they decide to do an investigation, the results and recommendations would be made public.

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With files from Kerry Campbell

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