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Place at treatment centre found for vulnerable woman

Jul 27 2012

A developmentally delayed woman who spent 200 days in jail last year has been admitted to the Burnaby Treatment Centre.

Earlier this year, Barbree Elliott's lawyer, Jesse Stamm, called on the provincial government, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and Community Living B.C. to do more to ensure his client's safety.

Elliott, 29, has the cognitive ability of a child between the ages of five and seven. She has bipolar disorder, and is a drug addict and sex trade worker. She is a target on the streets and when she consumes too much crack cocaine, her psychotic episodes put her at extreme risk, Stamm said.

Reports presented to the court suggest Elliott needs continuous supervision and that locked confinement is probably the only way to keep her safe.

In the past year, Elliott has come into increasing conflict with police and the courts because she is cognitively unable to abide by her probation conditions.

She continues to have problems with substance abuse.

"She has not been doing so well recently," Stamm said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Downtown Assertive Community Treatment team was able to get Elliott admitted to the treatment centre on July 16. It's expected she will remain there for six to nine months.

"If she can be sober for a period of time, we can have an opportunity to properly assess anything that could be medically treated," Stamm said. "I understand it's a secure facility, and I'm happy with that. If she's safe, sober and not in jail, that's what we've all been trying to do this whole time."

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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