Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

November 22, 2013 11:20 ET

Government of Canada Provides Funding for Enhancements to Services at Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - Nov. 22, 2013) - Today, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), on behalf of the Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Central Nova, announced funding of $330,637 for enhancements to mental health services provided through the Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice, a Child Advocacy Centre (CAC). The enhanced services will be delivered by a partner of the CAC, the Saskatoon Health Region's Mental Health and Addiction Services.

"Abuse can have an overwhelming impact on its victims, and child victims of abuse need access to specialized programs that respond to their unique needs," said Minister Yelich. "This funding will ensure that young victims and their families can access mental health services in a timely manner to minimize further trauma and support healthy coping strategies."

"Our Government has worked hard to make our streets and communities safer, to enhance the rights of victims of crime and to protect the most vulnerable-especially our children," said Minister MacKay. "I have personally seen how effective Child Advocacy Centres are in bringing people together under the common goal of improving the system's response to young victims of abuse."

With this funding, a trained social worker or psychologist will now be available full time through the Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice to provide timely and effective support to child victims and their families. The funding will also be used to hire a part-time case manager who will provide outreach, and coordinate services and a support team for young victims and their families. This new project builds on a successful project that offered mental health services on a part-time basis between 2011 and 2013.

CACs provide a safe, child- and youth-friendly environment where a collaborative, coordinated team of professionals work together in a child-focused manner to help a child or youth victim and their families navigate the criminal justice system. The work of a CAC multidisciplinary team can greatly reduce the emotional and mental trauma to children and youth.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $120 million to give victims a more effective voice through initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada. This funding includes $10.25 million for the establishment or enhancement of Child Advocacy Centres. So far, CAC projects have been funded in more than 20 cities or municipalities across Canada.

The Government of Canada has also put forward a number of measures to better protect children, including:

  • Putting in place the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which increased penalties for sexual offences against children and created two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child;

  • Strengthening the sex offender registry to be a more effective tool for preventing and investigating crimes;

  • Increasing the age of protection from 14 to 16 years old;

  • Eliminating house arrest for criminals who commit serious and violent offences, including for all child sexual offences;

  • 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.

This funding announcement is in keeping with the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, one of four priorities identified by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This plan focuses on holding violent criminals accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system. It also supports the Speech from the Throne 2013 commitment to introduce measures that will increase support for victims of crime.

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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 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 provided $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:

Nova Scotia
Halifax (Child and Youth Advocacy Centre Demonstration Project)
Québec
Centre d'expertise Marie-Vincent, Montréal
Ontario
Toronto Child and Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost, Toronto
Child Advocacy Centre Niagara, St. Catharines
Manitoba
Winnipeg Children's Advocacy Centre, Winnipeg
Saskatchewan
Saskatoon Centre for Children's Justice, Saskatoon
Regina Children's Justice Centre, Regina
Alberta
Caribou Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Grand Prairie
Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, Calgary
British Columbia
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:
Ontario
Brampton
Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, and Akwesasne
Kitchener
Orillia
Ottawa
Sioux Lookout
British Columbia
Vancouver
Nelson
Vernon
Victoria
Yukon
Whitehorse
Northwest Territories
Yellowknife

Contact Information

  • Paloma Aguilar
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207