November 16, 2023 – Kitchener, 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.
Today, the Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced funding for the Child Witness Centre, a Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) in Kitchener, Ontario. This funding will strengthen and build the capacity of the core services of the Child Witness Centre to meet the increased demand for child and youth services. Specifically, this funding will provide staff and the multi-disciplinary team with better access to resources, training and skills required to support young victims of abuse.
The Child Witness Centre provides caring and compassionate support, education, and advocacy for children, youth, and their families in dealing with the criminal justice process. Having a single, child-friendly setting means less system-induced trauma for young victims or witnesses and their families who are seeking services. The Centre supports their clients through a very challenging time in their lives, ensuring they are heard and believe in themselves, improving overall mental health and well-being.
Justice Canada is providing the Child Witness Centre $580,000 over five years (2023-2028) to strengthen and build the capacity of their core CYAC services through the Victims Fund - Child Advocacy Centre Initiative.
"At the Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region, we are incredibly grateful for the investment of $580,000 over the next five years in our advocacy program. This funding from the Government of Canada will cover the cost of supporting approximately 580 local children who are victims of abuse and crime. We are thankful, inspired, and most importantly empowered to serve those who need help the most. Our advocates will walk closely with each child and their family on their difficult journey towards a strong future."
Executive Director, Child Witness Centre
“The Child Witness Centre makes a positive difference in the lives of children and youth in the Waterloo Region, and the support our Government is providing will strengthen its programs and services. By funding centres like this one in Kitchener-Waterloo, we are contributing to effective intervention with child and youth victims of abuse and violence—these kids need our support and we are delivering it in a safe environment."
The Honourable Arif Virani, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
- 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.
- Justice Canada conducted a five-year, multi-study, Understanding the Develpoment and Impact of Child Advoacy Centres, to better understand how Canadian Child Advocacy Centres (CAC) are developing and operating and to measure client satisfaction and how CACs meet Federal Victims Strategy (FVS) objectives. A total of six CACs were included in the study involving four delivery models. The results indicated:
- 93% 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.
- Justice Canada's Child Advocacy Centres 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.