OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - Canadians expect to live in a society where the criminal justice system is fair and impartial and supports the needs of victims. This is especially important when those victims, or witnesses of abuse and violence, are children and youth. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that ongoing support for the most vulnerable is critical.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced $363,936 in financial support for fiscal year 2020-2021, to 5 Child Advocacy Centres (CAC) and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres in Ontario. This support will allow these centres to better respond to the needs of children, youth and their families resulting from the impacts of COVID-19. The funding will give CACs access to urgently needed resources for additional staff, as well as personal protective equipment, cleaning needs, training, purchase or upgrade of existing technology to better meet client needs remotely, and temporarily adapting office space to follow public health guidelines on physical and social distancing.
Child and youth victims of abuse or violence need safe, comfortable spaces where they can receive services adapted and customized to their needs. These centres seek to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly facility for young victims and their families to seek multiple services, ideally under "one roof".
The CAC Initiative provides funding to a number of victim-serving, non-governmental organizations whose programs and activities are aligned with the priorities of the Victims Fund managed by the Department of Justice Canada.
"We must take action to support our most vulnerable, especially children and their families who are victims of violence and abuse. I am proud that the Government of Canada is able to provide this support to Child Advocacy Centres and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres in Ontario to equip them to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. In supporting them, we are helping child and youth victims to access services at a single location within their community to reduce the trauma they experience."
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
- According to the Statistics Canada report The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on Canadian victim services, most victim services that responded to StatsCan were impacted in their ability to access resources for clients and by their shift to working remotely.
- According to self-reported data from the 2014 General Social Survey on victimization, nearly a third (32%) of Canadians aged 15 years and older – nearly nine million people – reported childhood physical or sexual abuse.
- A Department of Justice five year, multi-site study was conducted to better understand how Canadian CACs are developing and operating; measuring client satisfaction and how CACs meet the Federal Victims Strategy (FVS) objectives. A total of six CACs were included in the study involving four delivery models. The results indicated:
Child Advocacy Centres provide a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of child and youth victims and/or witnesses in the criminal justice system, thereby minimizing system-induced trauma. The CACs/CYACs provide a single, child friendly setting for young victims or witnesses and their families seeking services. These projects aim to support these Centres to adapt their services to meet the diverse needs arising from the COVID 19 pandemic.
Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, Toronto
Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre will receive $108,825 in 2020-2021
"Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre is grateful to Justice Canada for recognizing and responding to the need for additional resources at this time. The COVID 19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on Child Advocacy Centres across the country as we reimagine and adapt our service delivery to meet the changing demands. The funding provided by Justice Canada will allow us to better respond to the needs of children and youth that have been victims of abuse and violence."
Lindsay Jolie, Director of Operations, Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, Toronto
Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe Muskoka, Orillia/Barrie
Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe Muskoka will receive $146,500 in 2020-2021
"The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe Muskoka is truly grateful for the financial support from The Department of Justice Canada during these challenging times. We collectively recognize that children and youth have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with exposure to increased risk of violence, harm, physical and sexual abuse. This funding will enhance our organization's capacity, during and post pandemic, to respond quickly and safely to the anticipated influx of child abuse investigations. With the goal to reduce barriers to accessing multidisciplinary, victim-centered services, in addition to improved recording technology, we can ensure that the social and emotional needs of victims will be met and their voices will be heard."
Marg Schreurs, Interim Executive Director, Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe Muskoka
Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region
Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region will receive $15,000 in 2020-2021
"Not all homes are safe during the pandemic. As Child and Youth Advocacy Centres continue to attempt to deliver the highest quality of services to those who continue to need them during these difficult times, we thank the Department of Justice for their foresight and leadership in providing much needed financial assistance that allows us all to deliver these vital services to children, youth and their families."
David Morneau, Executive Director, Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region
Windsor-Essex County Youth Advocacy Centre
Windsor-Essex County Youth Advocacy Centre will receive $48,611 in 2020-2021
"The Government of Canada has provided Child Advocacy Centers with partial funding and a venue enabling children and youth of trauma and abuse to access the support they need."
Lynda Ware, President, Windsor-Essex County Youth Advocacy Centre
Koala Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Cornwall
Koala Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre will receive $45,000 in 2020-2021
"Koala Place, Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is most grateful for the additional funds which will allow us to develop and implement additional, policies, practices and systems in response to the challenges presented by COVID 19. As a result, Koala Place continues to serve our community's most vulnerable, our children and youth, providing a confidential, safe and neutral environment where they can share their stories of abuse and maltreatment."
Chantal Prieur, Executive Director, Koala Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, Cornwall
- Child and Youth Advocacy Centres
- JustFacts - Children's Advocacy Centres
- Child Advocacy Centres Initiative
- Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)
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SOURCE Department of Justice Canada
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