Child Witness Centre Launches Child Advocacy Centre Needs Assessment

KITCHENER, ONTARIO, —  The Child Witness Centre, with the help of funding from Justice Canada, is leading a needs assessment and feasibility study for a child advocacy centre for Waterloo Region. 

A child advocacy centre 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.

In a 2011 visit to Kitchener, Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said, “For the first time, the government has started a program that will give direct support to child advocacy centres.”  Centres have now been established, and others are in the process of starting in Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, St. Catharines, Montreal and Toronto.

Dr. Ginette Lafreniere and her team from the Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG) at the Wilfrid Laurier School of Social Work have been contracted to do this work.  The project has a May 31, 2013 completion date.

“SIRG brings a high level of expertise and experience with such studies, and provides a valuable independent third-party perspective,” says Child Witness Centre Board President Robert Dippell. “They will be consulting with a wide range of organizations in the region that provide services to children and child victims.”

The objectives are to:

  • Identify child victim needs and issues, and gaps in services and in the service delivery system for child victims, with a particular focus on sexual abuse.
  • Identify and assess options for addressing those gaps.
  • Assess the need for and feasibility of services under one roof, with a continuity in service providers for any one child.
  • Identify whether services respond effectively to language and cultural differences, and improvements which can be made in that regard.

For more information, contact Laura Muirhead, Executive Director, Child Witness Centre, 111 Duke  Street East, Kitchener, ON  N2H 1A4, Tel: (519) 744-0904, Fax: (519) 744-5379, E-mail: laura.muirhead@childwitness.com, Website:  www.childwitness.com

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