Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre responds to Graham James being granted full parole

Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre calls for immediate reform in the Justice System to protect our children and youth

CALGARY, Sept. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - A decision was made today by the National Parole Board to grant Graham James full parole, igniting anger across the country and apprehension about the court system's understanding of child sexual abuse and its impacts.

"We'll never get decisions that are supportive of the impact of James' crime until we start understanding the severity and the lifelong impact his crime has on children and into adulthood." – Sheldon Kennedy, Lead Director, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.

Child abuse is an issue that demands our action and attention. Research, as well as data generated through the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, demonstrates that child abuse can be a life altering experience.  1 in 3 Canadians report experiencing some type of child abuse.  Victims are 4 times as likely to report self-harm and suicidal ideation.  One in 5 cases assessed at the Centre are children and youth presenting with multiple forms of abuse.  These adverse child experiences lend to many of our social problems in today's society, including mental health, addictions, criminal behaviour and homelessness. 63% of youth aged 12 to 17 assessed at the SKCAC struggle with suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, self- harm, mental health, aggressive and/or sexualized behaviour at the time of initial assessment.

The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre demonstrates everyday the difference made when police, child protection, justice, and health work together to ensure the safety and protection for all children and families. Trauma informed integrated practice needs to be implemented on all levels to ensure that we as a society and those mandated to do this work support the safety, protection and resilience of children and youth.

The decision by the parole board today gives cause for immediate attention to changes that are still needed in the justice system to protect our children and youth.

"This is a crime that needs the immediate attention of the court systems. The extreme length of time it is taking for the courts to address these cases is re-traumatizing our children and youth, further impacting their ability to heal." – Bonnie Johnston, CEO, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.

For more information on the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre visit our website: sheldonkennedycac.ca or follow through social media on Twitter.com/skcac and Facebook.com/sheldonkennedychildadvocacycentre

SOURCE Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

For further information: Geri Bemister, Director of Operations, gbemister@sheldonkennedycac.ca ; Interview requests for Sheldon Kennedy may be directed to Natalie Cote, Director of Business Services and Support, sheldon.info@respectgroupinc.com

RELATED LINKS
www.sheldonkennedycac.ca

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