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News Release - Manitoba

January 23, 2013

Manitoba's First Children's Advocacy Centre Will Provide Young Victims a Safe Place to Get Services Quickly


Child-centred Approach Increases Likelihood Abusers Will Be Brought to Justice: Howard

Children who are victims of serious abuse will have access to programs and professionals to help them navigate the child protection and justice systems with as little additional trauma as possible in a single location, with the opening of Manitoba’s first children’s advocacy centre in downtown Winnipeg, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.                                  

“Child abuse in all its forms is one of the most traumatic experiences that happens in many too peoples’ lives,” said Howard.  “In the coming months this centre will bring together under one roof a team of professionals to help those children, while at the same time increasing the likelihood that abusers will be brought to justice.”

Howard was joined by federal Justice Minister and Attorney General Rob Nicholson.

“I am pleased to be here today for the grand opening of Winnipeg’s Children’s Advocacy Centre,” said

Nicholson.  “This centre will play an imperative role in making sure that young victims and their families have access to essential programs and services in order to mitigate further victimization.”

The children’s advocacy centre model is recognized in many jurisdictions across North America and is proven to improve the collection of evidence, increase the number of charges laid, and lead to a higher rate of convictions and more stringent sentences for abusers, said Howard.

Once fully operational, the centre will be staffed by a team of professionals including police, child‑protection and victim service providers who will work in a child-friendly setting to help a child or youth victim or witness navigate the child‑abuse investigation process and justice system on-site instead of services at multiple locations or at a police station where suspects are typically held.  One of the key features of the centre will be a forensic interviewer who will interview children or youths with the objective of limiting the number of times they will have to tell and retell their ordeal to the various professionals involved in an investigation, Howard said.

“This is a model that makes the justice system more fair for children who are victims of abuse,” said Rosalind Prober, president of Beyond Borders ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography     and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) Canada.  “With these services now under one roof, a judge will also more easily be able to fine convicted perpetrators the amount it cost to bring the evidence from the young victims to court.  I applaud the work of all the partners in bringing this service for our children to Winnipeg and I hope we see many more like it around the world.”

The Manitoba government is providing $339,000 in ongoing annual funding to support the new centre, a non-profit community organization.  

The children’s advocacy centre was identified as a priority in Phase 3 of Tracia’s Trust:  Manitoba’s Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy.  The centre is expected to be fully operational in coming months, said Howard, adding board membership is being finalized and an executive director is in place.  It is anticipated the centre will eventually serve about 100 Manitoba children per year.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED




Backgrounder
Children's Advocacy Centre Partners - https://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2013/01/Childrens_Advocacy_Centre_Partners.doc