October 15, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
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:
- Ninety-three percent of respondents in the study indicated that the support they received from all professionals was helpful.
- Caregivers also identified the victim advocate as the most important service received by them (46%), while counselling/therapy was the most important service received by their children (33%).
- Most youth victims (79%) and caregivers (91%) received services that were culturally sensitive.