OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 14, 2014) - Department of Justice Canada
Today, Minister of Justice Peter MacKay and Parliamentary Secretary Bob Dechert announced $300,000 for the implementation of the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) at Boost - the first CYAC in Toronto.
The funding is being made available for the CYAC at Boost to ensure that children and youth in the City of Toronto who experience abuse or violence can receive a wide range of services in a coordinated approach all in one location. The establishment of the CYAC at Boost follows the successful completion of a two-year pilot project also funded through the Department of Justice's Victims Fund. The pilot project supported the planning and development of the CYAC, which is now operational.
CYACs offer the same services as a Child Advocacy Centres (CAC), but to a broader age-range of victims. CYACs provide a safe, child and youth-friendly environment where a collaborative, coordinated team of professionals works together with an approach geared to the specific needs of each victim, to help a child or youth victim navigate the criminal justice system. The work of a CYAC or CAC multi-disciplinary team can greatly reduce the emotional and mental harm to children and youth.
- The funding will be used by the CYAC at Boost to:
- Establish one location as a single point of access where children, youth and families can receive multidisciplinary services from all of the professionals involved in child abuse investigations in a coordinated and comprehensive manner;
- Provide two advocates who will be central points of contact and support for victims and their families, ensuring that they receive information about their case and referrals to services as needed;
- Increase collaboration and strengthen partnerships with schools, health and community services, other local agencies and community organizations, and municipal, provincial and federal levels of government;
- Identify training needs and develop a training program for staff;
- Establish the CYAC as a Centre of Excellence that will share and disseminate knowledge and best practice to similar centres in Ontario and across the country; and,
- Increase public awareness about children at risk in Toronto through education and outreach.
- The funding for the CYAC at Boost, is being provided by the Government of Canada through the Department of Justice Canada's Victims Fund. The Victims Fund provides support to projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, or increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families.
- Since 2006, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $120 million to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system through initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada.
- This funding includes $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres. So far, CAC and CYAC projects have been funded in 20 cities or municipalities across Canada. CACs adopt a child-focused, coordinated and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of child and youth victims, and their families.
"Boost's reputation as a compassionate, effective organization speaks volumes to the important role they play in the Toronto community. The quality and dedication of the individuals who provide this service is spectacular. For more than thirty years, child and youth victims of abuse have been benefiting from the services provided by Boost. Our Government's funding and support will help Boost and its many community partners enhance their services for vulnerable young victims and their families, lessen the risk of them being re-victimized and help ensure they are more effectively heard and included in a meaningful way in our country's criminal justice system - as we've promised."
Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"Child and Youth Advocacy Centres are designed to help those most vulnerable navigate the challenges of our justice system and give them a stronger voice in how justice is carried out. By offering a range of services under one roof, the CYAC at Boost is providing much-needed assistance to victims of abuse and their families right here in the Toronto area."
Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice
- Backgrounder: Federal Victims Strategy and Victims Fund
- Backgrounder: Child Advocacy Centres
- Department of Justice Canada's Policy Centre for Victim Issues
- Department of Justice Canada's Victims Fund
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Backgrounder: Federal Victims Strategy and Victims Fund
The Federal Victims Strategy was created in 2007 and made permanent by the government in 2011. The objective of the Strategy, which is led by the Department of Justice Canada, is to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. The Department of Justice works in close collaboration with a variety of third parties, including other federal institutions, as well as victims, victim advocates, provincial and territorial governments, service providers, and other actors involved in the criminal justice system. The Department of Justice develops policy and criminal law reform, funds various programs to meet the needs of victims of crime, explores best practices to address victims' needs, and raises awareness about the concerns of victims of crime and their role in the criminal justice system.
Within the Federal Victims Strategy, the Victims Fund is a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice. Funds are available each year to provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations whose projects, activities and operations support the objectives of the Federal Victims Strategy.
The Victims Fund provides funding to projects and activities that:
- Enhance victim assistance programs across Canada;
- Promote access to justice and participation in the justice system and the development of laws, policies, and programs;
- Promote the implementation of principles, guidelines, and laws designed to address the needs of victims of crime and articulate their role in the criminal justice system;
- Contribute to increased knowledge and awareness of the impact of victimization, the needs of victims of crime, available services, assistance and programs, and legislation; and
- Promote, encourage and/or enhance governmental and non-governmental organizations' involvement in the identification of victims' needs and gaps in services, as well as in the development and delivery of programs, services and assistance to victims, including capacity building within non-governmental organizations.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $120 million to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections systems, through programs and initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada. This funding includes the allocation of $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime.
The Government of Canada is building on past measures to further advance the interests of victims, including:
- Implementing legislation to double the victim surcharge and make it mandatory;
- Eliminating the faint-hope clause, which allowed murderers to obtain early parole; and
- Establishing the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime in 2007.
More information is available on the Department of Justice Canada's website.
Backgrounder: Child Advocacy Centres
Child Advocacy Centres (CAC) are child-focused centres that coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse while helping abused children. They adopt a seamless and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of child and youth victims of crime. CACs seek to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for a young victim and his or her family. Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYAC) offer the same services as a CAC, but to a broader age-range of victims.
Child Advocacy Centres bring together a multidisciplinary team of police, child protection, medical services, mental health services, and victim services. Professional services offered by CACs include coordinated forensic interviews; examination of the child by a medical professional; victim advocacy, including court preparation and support; trauma assessment; and counselling.
CACs help children and their families navigate the justice system in a number of ways. For example, CACs provide a child or youth with a safe and comfortable environment in which to be interviewed by criminal justice professionals and seek to reduce the number of interviews and questions directed at a child, thereby minimizing system-induced trauma. CACs may also provide education and training to justice professionals on best practices for interviewing child victims and witnesses. For example, interviews recorded by video are an effective method for gathering valuable information that can help both the young victim and the justice system. Ultimately, CACs lead to better communication between agencies supporting young victims and to increased access to services for young victims and their families or caregivers.
It has been shown that investigations conducted by CACs are cost-effective and can expedite decision making by Crown prosecutors laying criminal charges. Parents whose children receive services from CACs are more satisfied with the investigation process and interview procedures, and those children who attend CACs are generally satisfied with the investigation and are more likely to state they were not scared during the forensic interviewing process.
Since 2010, the Government of Canada has allocated $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime. CACs that have benefited from Government of Canada funding, either directly or through funding provided to one of their partners, include the following:
Halifax (Child and Youth Advocacy Centre Demonstration Project)
Centre d'expertise Marie-Vincent, Montréal
Child and Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost, Toronto
Child Advocacy Centre Niagara, St. Catharines
Winnipeg Children's Advocacy Centre, Winnipeg
Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice, Saskatoon
Regina Children's Justice Centre, Regina
Caribou Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Grand Prairie
Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, Calgary
Sophie's Place, Surrey
Alisa's Wish, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
The Government has also provided funding for projects that explore the creation or development of a CAC in the following communities:
Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, and Akwesasne
West Kootenay Boundary