Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

July 30, 2015 12:52 ET

Government of Canada Provides Funding to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

CALGARY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 30, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay and Joan Crockatt, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, announced funding of $160,000 over two fiscal years to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre to develop expertise in specialized child abuse forensic interviewing and to extend forensic interviewing and extending support to rural and First Nations communities in Southern Alberta where this specialized expertise does not exist.

The enhanced expertise enabled by this funding will help to ensure that interviews of young victims and witnesses of physical and sexual abuse are child-sensitive and legally sound.

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 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

  • The funding will be provided as follows:
  • The funding will be used to develop a two-person team with advanced training and expertise to conduct forensic interviews in child abuse cases.
  • 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. These include: the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which received Royal Assent in March 2012; the Criminal Code amendments contained in the new Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, which recently came into force and will put an end to sentencing discounts for child sex offenders who commit crimes against multiple children; and the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which came into force this month.

Quotes

"Our Government recognizes that child and youth victims of crime have unique needs. We are pleased that this funding will support the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in its ongoing efforts to serve children and families affected by child abuse. These centres create safe, child-focussed environments where victims and their families can go to receive the services they need both to navigate the criminal justice system and to heal."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"It is so fitting that this Centre was named in Sheldon Kennedy's honour. I have so much respect for him personally. Sheldon's courage in coming forward to talk about the sexual abuse he suffered as a young adult opened the eyes of many Canadians about a serious problem that affects far too many children and youth in this country. His story has encouraged many others who've been victims of physical or sexual abuse to reach out and receive much-needed help and healing at places like the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. Our Government is pleased to provide funding to support this exceptional endeavour."

Joan Crockatt, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre

"This funding will help us continue to develop our leading practices in forensic interviewing here at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and allow us to provide support to First Nations and rural communities in Southern Alberta. It's essential that all children and youth impacted by abuse have the same access to services, regardless of where they live. We are grateful to the Department of Justice Canada for recognizing this need and for helping the Centre to provide specialized child abuse services to ensure children, youth and families receive the support they need."

Sheldon Kennedy, Lead Director, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

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 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)

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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