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Child and Youth Advocacy Centre of Nipissing Officially Opens its Doors

Child and Youth Advocacy Centre of Nipissing Officially Opens its Doors

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Each year there are more than 200,000 cases of reported child abuse and neglect in Canada. The criminal justice system can be intimidating, confusing and difficult to navigate, particularly for a young person. The Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) of Nipissing is a community response to improve this experience for young victims.

On March 12, 2019, the CYAC of Nipissing initiated a soft launch, and is now pleased to officially open its doors, bringing a local, collaborative, child-focused approach to child abuse investigations. The Child and Youth Advocacy Centre of Nipissing is strategically situated in a secure and central location in North Bay, which is easily accessible to families and service providers.

The CYAC of Nipissing provides a physically and psychologically safe environment for children, youth and non-offending caregivers to be interviewed, and offers a seamless transition to other available community supports. Community partners connect with families through the CYAC, which improves the process by: reducing the potential for gaps in service; minimizing the number of interviews given by children and youth; and, increasing access to community services.

Further, the cooperative, team-approach support by a CYAC results in more thorough investigations, better evidence gathering and higher conviction rates, as evidenced in other jurisdictions where CYACs are already in place.

CYAC Nipissing is funded by the Government of Canada, through Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, to bring together a multidisciplinary team to best respond to the needs of young victims.

“The Child and Youth Advocacy Centre of Nipissing is the result of strong and thoughtful community collaboration,” said Jeffrey Hawkins, Executive Director, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca. “The Executive and Steering Committees for CYAC, who represent various service partners, have dedicated countless hours to create a safe space where children and youth can receive appropriate supports at very difficult times.”

Community partners who were key in the creation and ongoing operation of the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, include:

  • Anishinabek Police Service
  • Children’s Aid Society for the District of Nipissing and Parry Sound
  • Crown Attorney’s Office
  • Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca
  • North Bay Police Service
  • North Bay Regional Health Centre
  • Ontario Provincial Police Service
  • Victim Services of Nipissing District
  • Victim Witness Assistance Program
  • West Nipissing Police Service

To-date, 30 families have experienced the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in Nipissing, with participants providing overwhelmingly positive feedback. One caregiver remarked that the “CYAC was such a positive experience, considering why we had to attend. It was far less intimidating for my family compared to visiting the police station”.

The Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is accessed as needed through child protection services or police services.

Posted: June 26, 2019