Our Journey


  • 1981: Media reports of Two Child Sexual Assault Cases Stimulated Concerned Citizens in K-W and London

    Media reports of two child sexual assault cases stimulated concerned citizens in K-W and London to gather 40,000 signatures on a petition to the Minister of Justice, seeking tougher sentencing.  Concerned about lack of community services and prevention programs, insensitivity of courts to victims and their families, and public ignorance of the facts of sexual abuse, a group of K-W community volunteers, led by Judy Harding, formed Citizens Concerned with Crime against Children (4Cs).  Volunteers educated themselves about child sexual abuse and concluded prevention depends on community awareness and support.
  • 1982: 4Cs Embarked on a Public Education Program

    4Cs embarked on a public education program, developing a colouring book entitled ‘Talking and Drawing About it’ for use by parents; and a ‘Talk About It’ video and guide for use by teachers. A service was established to ensure that sexual assault victims were aware of counselling services.
  • 1983: Agency was Incorporated

    The agency was incorporated and obtained status as a registered charity
  • 1980s: Progress Made in Treatment of Children as Victims

      Two additional 4Cs were started in Cambridge and Guelph.  Cambridge merged with Kitchener after a year and Guelph contracted with Kitchener 4Cs staff to provide child witness services in Wellington County.  Progress was made in treatment of children as victims and witnesses before the criminal courts.  Child witnesses were allowed to testify outside the courtroom or behind screens; the use of videotaped evidence of children was allowed; the court was required to consider a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing an offender; and victim surcharges (to be used for victim assistance) became part of Canada’s sentencing law.
  • 1991: 4C’s Started a Program to Provide Court Preparation for Children

    At the urging of Community Justice Initiatives, 4C’s started a program to provide court preparation for children and youth 18 years of age and younger who were victims of sexual assault and were not receiving such services from Family and Children’s Services.  Ten children were assisted in the first year of the program.
  • 1992: The ‘4Cs House’ was Established, KW United Way Member Agency

    The ‘4Cs House’ was established at 100 Lancaster Street East, across from the courthouse, with support from the Sertoma Foundation.  The agency and its video facility was made available to Waterloo Regional Police 24/7 to provide a child friendly interview environment.  4Cs became a KW United Way member agency.
  • 1993: Victim’s Rights Legislation; First Executive Director Named

    Children are now allowed to testify with support persons with them on the stand and the accused is prohibited from cross-examining the victim.  Judy Harding, 4Cs founder becomes the first Executive Director.
  • 1994: Cambridge Facility Opened

    The ‘Optimist Room’ was established at 120 Main Street, provided by the West Cambridge Optimist Club.
  • 1999: Agency Mandate Expanded

    The agency mandate was broadened to include child witnesses as well as victims, 18 years and younger, involving any form of crime, not just victims of sexual assault.  Family and Children’s Services integrated their child witness services into the 4Cs program. A child-friendly room was established at the courthouse.E
  • 2000: Dramatic Increase in Children Served

    The number of children referred to the agency increased from 159 in 1999 to 390 in 2000 due to the expansion in the mandate.  Total number of children assisted through the Child Witness Program since its inception surpassed 1,000.
  • 2002: Role Review

    A Role Review led to a new mission statement that confirmed the agency’s focus exclusively on the Child Witness Program, eliminating Education and Counselling Assistance Programs and the Community Resource Library. The agency was renamed the Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region to better describe the work of the agency and the area served. A website was created and long range fundraising and communication plans were developed.
  • 2003-2004: Cambridge & North Dumfries United Way Member Agency; Youth Symposium

    The agency was granted member agency status in Cambridge & North Dumfries United Way, reflecting the fact that approximately 25% of children served are from that area. Total number of children assisted through the Child Witness Program since its inception surpassed 2,000.  In 2004, the Agency hosts its first  Youth Symposium with 500 students in attendance.
  • 2006: Commencement of Government Funding; Expanded Services

    The Ministry of Attorney General began providing annual funding through the Victims Justice Fund and the Child Witness Centre expanded their services to Guelph and Wellington County.
  • 2008-2010: 25 Years; Brantford Pilot; Youth Symposium Expanded

    Expansion of services to Brantford were piloted but due to lack of funding, we ended the pilot in 2010 (but kept helping all current clients). In 2008, the Agency celebrates 25 years in the community since it became a registered charity.  The Youth Symposium expanded to Guelph with a combined registration of 3,500 grade eight students.
  • 2011 & 2012: Agency Receives Substantial Funding; Guelph United Way

    Agency Receives Substantial Funding for the Rotary Club of Kitchener-Conestoga for the purchase and renovation of a new home.  The new home is in close proximity to the new location of the consolidated courthouse opening in 2013.  In 2012, the Child Witness Centre also began receiving funding from the United Way of Guelph Wellington Dufferin.
  • 2013: Agency Moves and Launches New Logo

    The Agency moves into it’s own home at 111 Duke St. East, Kitchener.  A new look and logo is launched.  The swirl symbolizes the transition from darkness (in the middle) to light, brightness, hope and optimism; the journey we hope to be a part of with the children that we serve with care and compassion.
  • 2013: CWC Launches a Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study for a Child and Youth Advocacy Centre

    With the help of funding from the Government of Canada – Department of Justice, CWC is leading a needs assessment and feasibility study for a Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) for Waterloo Region. A CYAC is a place where community agencies and professionals involved in the investigation, treatment and support of children and youth who are victims of sexual abuse or other crimes, use a coordinated and collaborative approach in providing services for child victims. The federal government has committed $5.25 million in funding from the Victims Fund to create new child advocacy centres or enhance existing centres in Canada. More than 20 service providers who support children and youth who have been abused participated in the Study. The study was conducted through the Social Innovation Research Group ( SIRG) at Wilfrid Laurier University.
  • 2015: Federal funding is committed for the new Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in Waterloo Region

    On July 28th, Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre announced $350,000 (2015-17) in funding for the Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region to support the establishment of a Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) in Waterloo Region. While the Child Witness Centre is the lead agency, this has been a collaborative effort for the past 2 years involving key community partners – Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS), Family and Children’s Services (FACS) of the Waterloo Region, Office of the Crown Attorney, the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SA/DVTC) through St. Mary’s Hospital and Lutherwood. The CYAC will be a child-friendly hub where allegations of child abuse are investigated and children and youth affected by physical or sexual abuse, and their families, receive wraparound, child-specific support to help them heal from the trauma of child abuse and move toward a healthy future.
  • 2016: The Waterloo Region Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) opened with a ‘soft launch on May 2’

    Specially-trained, dedicated Police, Family & Children’s Services investigators and the Child and Youth Advocate staff began to deliver the services of the CYAC, temporarily operating from offices at the Waterloo Regional Police North Division, and providing the CYAC services using upgraded facilities at Family and Children’s Services (FACS), while work continues towards having a more permanent child friendly facility by the fall. The service delivery model was implemented at this time because there was momentum and a strong need to begin to deliver the services for these young people and their families as soon as possible.

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