Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

April 27, 2012 09:40 ET

Government of Canada Takes Action to Protect Child Victims

ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 27, 2012) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today joined Rick Dykstra, M.P. for St. Catharines, to announce Government of Canada funding for Child Advocacy Centre Niagara.

CAC Niagara brings together police, child welfare agencies, victim services, health authorities, and mental health professionals to serve young victims of crime. This funding from the Government of Canada will enhance the services of CAC Niagara to meet the needs of children and youth who are victims of abuse, internet exploitation or witnesses to serious crime.

"Our Government is committed to 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 this funding will go a long way to ensure a stronger and more effective voice for young victims in our community."

CAC Niagara seeks to minimize the trauma faced by child victims of abuse or witnesses to serious crime. A CAC is a place where a team of professionals work in a child-friendly setting to help a child or youth victim or witness navigate the criminal justice system.

"This Child Advocacy Centre will continue to serve the community and work with local agencies that are helping children and youth who are victims of abuse and crime," said Dykstra. "This government remains committed to victims of crime, particularly children and youth."

We are proud that CACN serves the entire Niagara Region," said Cindy Paskey, Executive Director of CAC Niagara. "Our partners, Niagara Regional Police and Family and Children's Services, report - on average - at least one child abuse investigation per day. This speaks to the importance of providing a safe place for Niagara's children and youth who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, Internet child exploitation or have witnessed violence."

The $182,731 in federal funding over two years comes from the $5.25 million commitment over five years that was announced October 7, 2010, and is made available through the Victims Fund of the Department of Justice Canada.

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 renewed the Federal Victims Strategy at a funding level of $13 million per year. On April 23, 2012, in Ottawa, Minister Nicholson 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.

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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

  • Julie Di Mambro
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice