Government of Canada Provides Funding to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre
July 30, 2015 – Calgary, Ontario – Department of Justice.
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.
- The funding will be provided as follows:
- 2015-16: $80,000
- 2016-17: $80,000
- The funding will be used to develop a two-person team with advanced training and expertise to conduct forensic interviews in child abuse cases.
- One person will be hired and given specialized forensic training, including training in the interviewing of children with exceptional and complex needs.
- Specialized training will also be provided to a second person, whose services are being offered by the Calgary Region Child and Family Services to work with the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre on a full-time basis.
- 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.
“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
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice