Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

November 10, 2011 13:15 ET

Government Announces Support for Enhancement of Saskatoon's Centre for Children's Justice

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Nov. 10, 2011) - Today, Maurice Vellacott, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced federal government funding for the Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice. This project brings together police, the crown prosecutors office, health authorities, and child welfare agencies to serve young victims of crime.

"Our Government is committed to protecting victims of crime and giving them a voice in the criminal justice system," said Minister Nicholson. "Today we are pleased to be moving forward with various Saskatoon agencies on such an important initiative to enhance a child-focused facility that stands up for young victims of crime."

The aim of the Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice is similar to Child Advocacy Centres throughout Canada and around the world: to minimize the trauma of being a child victim of crime and a young witness to serious crime. A CAC is a place where a collaborative team of professionals work in a child-friendly setting to help a child or youth victim or witness navigate the criminal justice system.

"Saskatoon's Centre for Children's Justice is a partnership of many local community agencies that aid young victims of crime and children who have witnessed serious crime," said MP Vellacott. "This government is standing up for the most vulnerable members of our community."

"Saskatoon Health Region is pleased to provide the necessary mental health support to children who have experienced trauma as a result of the criminal actions of others," says Tracy Muggli director Mental Health and Addictions Services Saskatoon Health Region. "We look forward to working collaboratively with community partners to ensure increased accessibility of mental health services and support for these children and their families."

The $108,590 in federal funding over two years comes from $5.25 million in funding over five years that was announced October 7, 2010 and is made available through the Victims Fund at the Department of Justice. In 2007, the Government announced the Federal Victims Strategy and committed $52 million over four years to respond to the needs of victims of crime. In Budget 2011, the Government announced $26 million in renewed funding over the next two years to continue the Federal Victims Strategy.

BACKGROUNDER:

CHILD ADVOCACY CENTRES

A Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) adopts a seamless, coordinated and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of child and youth victims of crime. A CAC seeks to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for a young victim or witness and his or her family.

Professional services offered by CACs include coordinated interviews by law enforcement and Crown Attorneys, examination of the child by a medical professional and trauma counselling. One goal of a CAC is to minimize the number of interviews and questions directed at a child, thereby minimizing any additional system-induced trauma.

CACs help children and their families navigate the justice system in a number of ways. These include providing a child with a safe and comfortable environment in which to be interviewed by criminal justice professionals, minimizing the number of interviews and ultimately leading to better communication between agencies supporting young victims. CACs may also provide education and training to justice professionals on best practices for interviewing child victims and witnesses. As an example, interviews recorded by video are an effective method for gathering valuable information to help both children and the justice system.

It has been shown that investigations conducted by CACs are cost effective and 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 process.

A CAC is designed to support a child's healing and assist them in recovering from the severe stress and trauma of abuse. CACs have also been shown to increase collaboration between the agencies charged with protecting children and youth and law enforcement agencies responsible for investigating criminal activity.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Julie Di Mambro
    Press Secretary
    613-992-4621

    Department of Justice Canada
    Media Relations
    613-957-4207
    Internet: www.canada.justice.gc.ca