Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

October 07, 2010 11:42 ET

Government of Canada Announces Funding for Child Advocacy Centres Across Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2010) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Shelly Glover, M.P. for Saint Boniface and Parliamentary Secretary for Indian Affairs and Northern Development today announced funding for the creation and enhancement of Child Advocacy Centres across Canada to help better serve young victims and witnesses of crime.

"The Government is committed to supporting victims of crime, particularly the most vulnerable among us – our children," said Minister Nicholson. "Today's investment will assist in making it easier for children's voices to be heard throughout our criminal justice system."

Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) aim to minimize the trauma of being a child victim of crime. CACs are a collaborative team of professionals who work in a child-friendly setting to help a child victim or witness navigate the criminal justice system. The work of the CAC staff greatly reduces the emotional and mental harm to the child and their approach often improves the quality of evidence brought forward in trials. Better evidence can lead to more charges laid, a higher rate of guilty pleas and convictions, and more appropriate sentences.

"Child Advocacy Centres make a significant contribution to helping young victims of crime, and preparing witnesses to reduce the trauma and assist the prosecution," said Glover. "Our Government has made protecting families and the most vulnerable in our society a priority."

The $ 5.25 million in funding over 5 years will be available through the Victims Fund at the Department of Justice. Provincial/territorial victim services, non-governmental organizations or existing child advocacy centres may apply for funding to establish a child advocacy centre in their jurisdiction or expand the services for an existing CAC. In 2007, the Harper Government announced the Federal Victims Strategy and committed $52 million to respond to the needs of victims of crime.

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Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) are a seamless, coordinated and collaborative approach to addressing the needs of child victims or children who have witnessed a crime. CACs minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for child victims or witnesses and their families. 

Professional services offered by CACs may include coordinated interviews by law enforcement and Crown Attorneys, examination of the child by a paediatrician or child psychologist, and trauma counselling. The goal of a CAC is to minimize the number of interviews and questions directed at the child, thereby minimizing any additional system-induced trauma. The result of this approach is a reduction in the system-induced trauma for the child. This reduction in trauma enables children to provide stronger evidence, which can lead to an increase in charges laid, guilty pleas, convictions and appropriate sentences.

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

Child Advocacy Centres:

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    Department of Justice Canada
    Media Relations