Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

July 31, 2015 13:43 ET

Federal Government Funds Sophie's Place Child Advocacy Centre

Support will fund child advocacy centre servicing the Lower Mainland

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 31, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, the Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, P.C., Q.C., MP for Delta-Richmond East and Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay, announced funding of $220,000 over two years to the Centre for Child Development of the Lower Mainland to support Sophie's Place Child Advocacy Centre.

The investment will help provide a community-based program with a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of children and youth who are implicated in the criminal justice system, either as victims of or witnesses to physical or sexual abuse.

Child advocacy centres (CACs) and child and youth advocacy centres (CYACs) help child and youth victims and their families navigate the criminal justice system. They provide a safe child- and youth-friendly environment where a coordinated team of professionals works to meet the specific needs of each person. The work of a multidisciplinary team in a CAC or a CYAC can greatly reduce the emotional and mental harm to child and youth victims involved in the criminal justice system.

In Economic Action Plan 2015, the Government of Canada committed to provide additional funding to CACs and CYACs. Starting in 2016-17, the Government will provide $5.25 million over four years, and $2.1 million on an annual basis thereafter, to make the support and services provided by CACs and CYACs more accessible in communities across the country.

Quick Facts

  • Sophie's Place Child Advocacy Centre will receive $220,000 in funding as follows:
    • $110,000 in 2015-16
    • $110,000 in 2016-17
  • The funding will be used to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a single, child-friendly setting to encourage child and youth victims or witnesses and their families to access services.
  • Since 2010, the Government of Canada has invested $10.3 million through the Victims Fund for new or enhanced child advocacy centres and child and youth advocacy centres across Canada.
  • Additionally, the Government has put in place several pieces of legislation to help protect children that are now law. These include the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which received Royal Assent in March 2012; the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, which recently came into force; the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, which came into force in March 2015; and the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which came into force this month.

Quotes

"Our Government is proud of our accomplishments to help victims of crime. The youngest victims of crime need even more attention. That is why we have taken steps to fund child advocacy centres and child and youth advocacy centres to recognize these needs and improve services. Sophie's Place will serve children from across the Lower Mainland with a one-stop, child-friendly centre where young victims and their families can get much-needed support and services."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Sophie's Place serves some of the most vulnerable in our society; young victims of crime. Our Government is taking the needs of victims seriously. Today's investment demonstrates our commitment to helping communities like Surrey assist victims in their time of need."

Hon. Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue and MP for Delta-Richmond East

"I would like to express our sincere thanks to Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay for personally visiting Sophie's Place Child Advocacy Centre and announcing the provision of $220,000 in funding to Sophie's Place, furthering the Prime Minister's commitment to child advocacy centres as announced in Economic Action Plan 2015. The support from the Department of Justice has been, and continues to be, pivotal to realizing the dream of creating Sophie's Place Child Advocacy Centre as the Lower Mainland's first child advocacy centre and only the second National Children's Alliance affiliated child advocacy centre in Canada. The Centre brings together multiple key law enforcement and victim support resources all in one child-friendly place to reduce the traumatization of children who have been mentally, physically or sexually abused."

Gerard Bremault, CEO, The Centre for Child Development, Child Development Foundation of British Columbia and Sophie's Place

Related Products

  • Backgrounder: Federal Victims Strategy and Victims Fund
  • Backgrounder: Child Advocacy Centres
  • Backgrounder: Child Sexual Offenders

Associated Links

Department of Justice Canada's Policy Centre for Victim Issues

Department of Justice Canada's Victims Fund

Backgrounder

Federal Victims Strategy and Victims Fund

The Federal Victims Strategy brings together federal efforts to give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. It was created in 2007 and made permanent 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 works in close collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, as well as victims, victim advocates, provincial and territorial governments, service providers, and others involved in the criminal justice system. The Department 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. More than $13M is 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 $158 million to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system through initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada.

More information is available on the Department of Justice Canada's website.

Backgrounder

Child Advocacy Centres and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres

The Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support projects and activities to help support victims of crime. More specifically, the fund promotes access to justice, improves the capacity of service providers, fosters the establishment of referral networks, and increases awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families.

Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) are child-focused centres that provide a coordinated approach to investigation, intervention, treatment and prosecution, in child abuse cases. They adopt a seamless and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of child and youth victims or witnesses of abuse to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for young victims and their families. Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYACs) offer the same services as CACs, but to a broader age-range of victims. Both CACs and CYACs receive funding under the CAC portion of the Victims Fund.

Child Advocacy Centres bring together a multidisciplinary team of police, child protection, medical services, mental health services, victim services, and prosecutors in a child-friendly environment. 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 they seek to reduce the number of interviews and questions directed at a child. CACs may also provide education and training to justice professionals on best practices for interviewing child victims and witnesses. 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 more likely to say that they were not scared during the forensic interviewing process.

Since 2010, the Government of Canada has allocated a total of $10.3 million to new or enhanced CACs and CYACs. In Economic Action Plan 2015, the Government committed to providing additional funding to CACs and CYACs. It will provide $5.25 million over four years starting in 2016-17, along with $2.1 million on an annual basis thereafter, to make the support and services provided by CACs and CYACs more accessible in communities across the country.

CACs and CYACs that have benefited from Government of Canada funding, either directly or through funding provided to one of their partners, include the following:

Nova Scotia
Sea Star Child and Youth Advocacy Centre Demonstration Project, Halifax
Quebec
Centre d'expertise Marie-Vincent, Montréal
Ontario
Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka, Orillia
Boost Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Toronto
Koala Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Cornwall
Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre Niagara, St. Catharine's
Manitoba
Snowflake Place for Children and Youth Inc., Winnipeg
Saskatchewan
Regina Children's Justice Centre, Regina
Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice, Saskatoon
Alberta
Caribou Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Grand Prairie
Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, Calgary
British Columbia
Alisa's Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
Sophie's Place Child Advocacy Centre, Surrey
Vancouver Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Pilot Project, Vancouver

The Government has also provided funding for projects that explore the creation, development or adaptation of the CAC model in the following communities:

Ontario
Brampton
Kitchener
Ottawa
Sioux Lookout
British Columbia
Vernon (North Okanagan Child and Youth Advocacy Centre project)
Victoria (ORCA)
West Kootenay Boundary (Safe Kids & Youth (SKY) Coordinated Response)
Yukon
Whitehorse (Project Lynx)
Northwest Territories
Yellowknife
Nunavut
Iqaluit (Umingmak Child and Youth Protection Centre)

Backgrounder

Child Sexual Offenders

The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting Canadians and keeping our streets and communities safe.

In Canada, over 4,200 sexual violations against children were reported to police in 2013, a six percent increase in the rate from 2012(1).That is why the Government has brought forward legislation that better protects children from sexual predators at home and abroad.

The Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act came into force on July 17, 2015. The new measures build on the significant work that has already been done to combat child sexual exploitation and protect Canadians from online crime. The new measures:

  • require those sentenced for child pornography offences and contact child sexual offences to serve the sentences they receive consecutively - one sentence after the other;
  • increase maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences;
  • increase maximum sentences for violating conditions of supervision orders; and
  • ensure that committing a crime while on house arrest, parole, statutory release, or unescorted temporary absence is always considered an aggravating factor at sentencing.

Since 2006, our Government has taken strong actions to better protect children, including:

  • bringing forward legislation to ensure children are better protected against cyberbullying by making it an offence to distribute intimate images of a person without their consent;
  • putting in place, through the Safe Streets and Communities Act, new mandatory minimum penalties for seven existing Criminal Code sexual offences, including assault, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault (where the child is under 16 years);
  • making it illegal for anyone to provide sexually explicit material to a child for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence against that child;
  • making it illegal to use computers or other means of telecommunications to agree or make arrangements with another person to commit a sexual offence against a child;
  • strengthening the sex offender registry;
  • increasing the age of protection - the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity - from 14 to 16 years of age;
  • putting in place legislation to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet service providers mandatory; and
  • strengthening the sentencing and monitoring of dangerous offenders.

(1) Statistics Canada. Table 252-0051 - Incident-based crime statistics, by detailed violations, annual (number unless otherwise noted), CANSIM (database).

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Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207