Winnipeg is set to open it's doors to the first Child Advocacy Centre in Manitoba.
Officials announced on Wednesday January 23, 2013 that Winnipeg will get the much needed new centre which will help children and youth who are victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and serious abuse.
"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,” said Jennifer Howard, the province’s family services minister.
It's a difficult thing to keep repeating the trauma that a child or youth has experienced to officials, or therapists, and counselors and the like...that itself is re traumatizing, often 'reliving' the event- which makes healing and moving forward that much harder. ~ Karin Hiebert Winnipeg
Rajeev Dhir of CTV News in Winnipeg had contacted myself for a brief telephone interview in regards to the centre and my thoughts on the new Child Advocacy Centre in Winnipeg for comment.
'Children need to feel safe, they need to be in a comfortable environment- unlike the 'official' offices of traditional therapist offices, or offices of the officials-- 'the police'
These children have been traumatized and victimized often by people they know- to have to re-tell their stories and experiences repeatedly creates excruciating pain for them. Add that to having to tell complete strangers what happened causes undue stress and trauma...
Trying to remember details of the event, or the fear of not being believed, or perhaps blocking out parts because remembering is simply too painful- becomes a part of their feeling even more confused about what happened to them...
The centre and the way it will operate or the way it will be set up will help the victims to move forward in their healing process and comfortable in telling. They need to tell, however, doing it over and over to various people isn't helpful. They would get to a point where they would rather not talk about it- or remember it. That isn't helpful to anyone...
If you can imagine how difficult it can be or would be for an adult to have to go through this process and difficult time- I'm sure you could imagine how scary all of this would be for our youth, or a child.
This centre is definitely needed. And I'm thrilled that Winnipeg will now have one- naturally I wish we didn't need it at all- However;
The unfortunate thing is- child abuse isn't going away- predators will always be out there, they find a way...they aren't going anywhere, it's a sad reality. If we can provide a place for these children and youth to go where they can get help, and they know that there is a safe place to do so, they will use this new resource- they will tell their story, especially if they know they have a 'team of people' who will work with them to heal and hopefully find justice. ~Karin Hiebert
This new centre is to help children and youth find justice in the justice system. The community and its resources are now joining forces to help fight child abuse and make the process of dealing with crime and healing from these crimes a little easier.
Child advocacy centres (CACs) are designed to minimize the stress faced by children and youth who are the victims of serious sexual or physical abuse. CACs will bring together a team of professionals including police, child protection services and victim services, along with mental and physical health services.
The team will work in a child-friendly setting to help the child or youth victim or witness- navigate the child‑abuse investigation process and justice system in the least traumatic way possible.
The centre is the first of its kind in Manitoba and will be staffed with child-protection and victim services providers and police.
Rosalind Prober, president of Beyond Borders, said having multiple services under one roof will help kids.
"This is a model that makes the justice system more fair for children who are victims of abuse," said Prober.
The centre is expected to be up and running in the next few months.
Officials believe it will eventually work with about 100 children per year.
Watch the Video of the First Child Advocacy Centre in Winnipeg, the announcement and the tour- including Rajeev Dhir's interview with the centre by clicking on the above link