Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

February 13, 2015 14:44 ET

Government of Canada Provides Funding for Enhancements to Winnipeg's Snowflake Place for Children and Youth

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Feb. 13, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced more than $240,000 in funding for enhancements to services offered by the Snowflake Place for Children and Youth. Snowflake Place for Children and Youth is a Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) operating out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Minister MacKay was accompanied at the announcement by Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Member of Parliament for Saint-Boniface, Shelly Glover.

The funding will be used by the organization to hire two child forensic interview specialists. The purpose of a child forensic interview is to obtain a statement from a young victim in an unbiased and legally sound manner that is also developmentally and culturally sensitive for the young victim being interviewed. By having two on-site forensic interview specialists, the organization aims to improve child abuse investigations by reducing the number of interviews and interviewers for young victims and by ensuring that all interviews are done in a child-friendly setting.

CACs or Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYAC) 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 CAC or CYAC multidisciplinary team can greatly reduce the emotional and mental harm to child and youth victims involved in the criminal justice system.

Quick Facts

- The funding will be provided as follows:

  • 2014-15: $66,831

  • 2015-16: $175,000

- The funding is being provided through the Department of Justice Canada's Victims Fund. The Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support 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.

Quotes

"Our Government has demonstrated its strong commitment to standing up for victims of crime and protecting the most vulnerable members of our community-our children. By hiring specialists trained to interview young victims in a culturally sensitive and unbiased way, Snowflake Place for Children and Youth will help minimize the potential re-victimization of victims of physical and sexual abuse and promote accurate, fact-based decision making in the criminal justice system."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Child Advocacy Centres are exemplary models of the success that can be achieved when services and programs are coordinated and tailored to meet the unique needs of victims of crime. With these enhancements, Snowflake Place for Children and Youth will continue to play a vital role in helping young victims of crime and their families in the Winnipeg area access the services and programs they need to heal from abuse."

Shelly Glover, Minister of Heritage and Official Languages and M.P. for Saint-Boniface

"As Manitoba's first Child Advocacy Centre, Snowflake Place brings together different partners and agencies involved in child abuse investigations to coordinate roles and responsibilities so young victims receive sensitive and immediate support in a setting that puts their needs first. This funding will allow for the hiring of two forensic interviewers at Snowflake Place. These dedicated positions specializing in child forensic interviews will complement and enhance the investigation process."

Cheryl Martinez, Executive Director, Snowflake Place for Children and Youth

Related Products

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

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 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 of Justice works in close collaboration with other federal institutions, as well as victims, victim advocates, provincial and territorial governments, service providers, and others 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.

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:

  • Nova Scotia
    • Halifax (Child and Youth Advocacy Centre Demonstration Project)
  • Quebec
    • Centre d'expertise Marie-Vincent, Montréal
  • Ontario
    • Child and Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost, Toronto
    • The Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre Niagara
  • Manitoba
    • Snowflake Place for Children and Youth Inc., 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
    • West Kootenay Boundary
    • Vernon
    • Victoria
  • Yukon
    • Whitehorse
  • Northwest Territories
    • Yellowknife

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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