October 14, 2014 – Halifax, NS – Department of Justice Canada
Today, Minister of Justice Peter MacKay announced $339,000 to support an expansion of the services currently being offered by the Sea Star Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) operating out of the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Minister made the announcement while delivering the opening remarks at the 2014 SeaStar Child and Youth Advocacy Centre Conference. The keynote address for the conference was delivered by Sheldon Kennedy, a prominent advocate for child victims of abuse.
The funding announced today will be used by the organization to continue and improve upon a demonstration program that has now been in operation for one year. The funding will also be used to enhance the role of the child and youth advocate and increase access to mental health services for young victims of crime in addition to other activities.
Both CYACs and Child Advocacy Centres (CAC) help children or youth victims navigate the criminal justice system. CYACs offer the same services as CACs, but to a broader age range of victims. They provide a safe, child and youth-friendly environment where a coordinated team of professionals works to meet the specific needs of each victim. The work of a CYAC or CAC multi-disciplinary team can greatly reduce the emotional and mental harm to children and youth victims involved in the criminal justice system.
"Our Government is committed to protecting our most vulnerable: victims of crime, and especially children. Cases of child sexual abuse are among the most difficult for legal professionals to see in the course of their practices. Young victims can often feel re-traumatized by their journey through the justice system - a system designed to meet the needs of adults. This funding will help the first Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in Atlantic Canada develop and expand their services to better serve young victims of crime and their families, and to provide these youth with the tools they need to start a new and healthier chapter in their lives."
Hon. Peter MacKay P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
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