Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

April 26, 2012 08:10 ET

Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect Child Victims

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - April 26, 2012) - The Government of Canada today announced that it will provide $350,000 to establish a Child Advocacy Centre in Halifax. In addition, the Government will contribute more than $2 million in funding to the provincial government for programs to support victims of crime across Nova Scotia. The announcement was made by the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, at the IWK Health Centre.

"Our Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe and providing victims - especially children - with the services and support that they need," said Minister Nicholson. "Children are even more vulnerable to the trauma of crime, and these funds will go a long way toward ensuring a stronger and more effective voice for young victims."

"For young Canadians who have suffered through abuse or who have witnessed a crime, it can be quite traumatic to navigate through the criminal justice system," stated Minister MacKay. "Our Government is taking action to ensure young victims in Nova Scotia have access to high-quality programs."

"We are pleased to receive federal support for these important programs that assist victims and their families," said Ross Landry, Nova Scotia's Minister of Justice. "This new funding will work to enhance existing services and supports to help victims of crime in Nova Scotia. These include helping victims to apply for restitution and prepare victim impact statements. Overall, our services help victims in more than 6,000 new cases a year," Mr. Landry added.

"We have the opportunity to do better for these children and families," said Dr. Amy Ornstein, Pediatrician, IWK Child Protection Team. "The demonstrated efficacy and efficiency of a Child Advocacy Centre model, as well as the growth of CACs internationally, provide us with a practical and beneficial approach that can make a real difference."

Both funding contributions announced today - more than $2 million for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice and $350,000 to create a CAC in Halifax - were provided through the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice Canada. The Fund currently makes $11.6 million per year available to provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations for programs and services to give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.

More information about the Government's commitment to victims of crime can be found at www.victimsweek.gc.ca.

(Version française disponible)

BACKGROUNDER

VICTIMS FUNDING FOR THE NOVA SCOTIA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Through its Victims Fund, the Department of Justice Canada will provide more than $2 million over five years to the Nova Scotia Department of Justice. The funding aims to improve programs and services to residents of the province who have been victims of crime.

Federal Victims Strategy / Victims Fund

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 over two years in renewed funding for the Federal Victims Strategy. Most recently, the Government announced additional funding of $7 million over five years from Budget 2012, $5 million of which will be directed to the creation and enhancement of Child Advocacy Centres across Canada.

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. Working in collaboration with victims, victim advocates, provincial and territorial governments, service providers and others involved in the criminal justice system, the Department identifies issues of concern to victims of crime, and facilitates policy development and criminal law reform.

Within the Federal Victim Strategy, the Victims Fund is a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice. With the new funding announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, the Fund will have $11.6 million each year available to fund provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations whose projects, activities and operations support the objectives of the Federal Victims Strategy.

The Victims Fund funds projects and activities which

  • promote access to justice and participation by victims in the justice system;
  • promote the development of law, policies and programs for victims;
  • promote the implementation of principles, guidelines and laws designed to address the needs of victims of crime and articulate the victim's role in the criminal justice system;
  • increase knowledge and awareness of the impact of victimization, the needs of victims of crime, available services, assistance and programs, and relevant legislation;
  • encourage governmental and non-governmental organizations to identify victim needs and gaps in services, and develop and deliver programs, services and assistance to victims; and
  • promote capacity building within non-governmental organizations;

More information is available on the Department of Justice Canada's website.

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 forensic interviews, examination of the child by a medical professional, victim advocacy and trauma counselling. One of the goals of a CAC is to minimize the number of interviews and questions directed at a child, thereby minimizing system-induced trauma.

CACs help children and their families navigate the justice system in a number of ways. These include providing a child or youth with a safe and comfortable environment in which to be interviewed by criminal justice professionals and minimizing the number of interviews. 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 that can help both the young victim and the justice system. Ultimately CACs lead to better communication between agencies supporting young victims.

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 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 criminal justice agencies responsible for investigating and prosecuting criminal activity.

Contact Information

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

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