GRAND PRAIRIE, AB, Nov. 20, 2023 /CNW/ - 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, on National Child Day, the Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Nicole Bockus, Program Coordinator of the Caribou Child and Youth Centre, announced funding to PACE (Providing Assistance, Counselling and Education), Community Support, Sexual Assault and Trauma Centre for their Child Advocacy Centre in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
This funding will increase capacity of the Caribou Child and Youth Centre to provide a coordinated approach to address the needs of child and youth victims, witnesses and their families as they navigate the criminal justice system. Having a single, child-friendly setting means less system-induced trauma for young victims or witnesses and their families who are seeking services. Through this funding PACE will continue to provide services and supports, such as emotional support, referrals where needed, and ongoing court support, preparation, and accompaniment.
This financial support will also help develop a provincial network to ensure that all Albertans affected by child abuse have access to child forensic interviewers, support through the medical and legal process, and access to healing and recovery programs, services and supports.
Justice Canada is providing PACE with $750,000 over five years (2023-2028) through the Child and Youth Advocacy Centres Initiative to support the Caribou Child and Youth Centre.
Established in 2012, the Caribou Child and Youth Centre is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team that consists of the RCMP, Child Family Services, PACE, Victim Services and Crown Prosecution.
"The Caribou Child and Youth Centre opened its doors in 2012 with support from the Justice Canada, and we are thrilled to see this partnership remain in place. The Centre will continue to provide support and services to children, youth and their caregivers when they need it most, while working collaboratively with the eight other Child Advocacy Centres across Alberta to strengthen our
Provincial CAC/CYAC Network."
Program Coordinator of the Caribou Child and Youth Centre
"All children and youth deserve to feel safe and secure, especially those who have experienced or witnessed violence. The Caribou Child and Youth Centre offers trauma-informed interventions offered in a child and youth-friendly setting. Our government's financial support will help the Centre's essential and multi-disciplinary programs make a difference in the lives of northern rural Albertans."
The Honourable Arif Virani, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
SOURCE Department of Justice Canada