CALGARY, April 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, together with the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre announced today the renaming of the Centre as the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (CAC). The CAC is a child-focused centre of excellence providing hope, help and healing to children, youth and families impacted by child abuse.
The CAC and its partner organizations (Calgary Police Service; Calgary and Area Child and Family Services, Alberta Human Services; Alberta Health Services and Calgary Crown Prosecutors Office, Alberta Justice) have implemented an integrated and collaborative model focused on best practices in the reporting, treatment and investigation of child abuse.
The CAC is a one-stop facility which ensures abuse cases are managed in the best interest of the child. Caring and compassionate multi-discipline teams provide expert, integrated and coordinated services for children and their families in a safe and child-friendly environment.
"Our Government will continue to stand up for victims of crime and their families," said the Prime Minister. "Child abuse is a horrible crime that can haunt its victims their whole lives. We are proud to support the work of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre to help abused children and their families recover, heal and grow stronger."
"Changing the name of our facility to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre aligns with the mandate and values of our Centre," commented Bonnie Johnston, CEO Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. "Sheldon's courage, tenacity and commitment on the issue of child abuse, inspires us to continually do better for the children and families we serve every day."
Sheldon Kennedy commented, "I am humbled that the Calgary Child Advocacy Center will now bear my name. With our ongoing, collective efforts and this incredible Centre we now have the opportunity to create best practices around child abuse and take this to a whole new level - not only for the city of Calgary, but for the rest of Canada. "
Kennedy added, "We are pleased that the Harper Government's justice agenda focuses on holding violent criminals accountable for their crimes, enhancing the rights of victims and increasing the efficiency of our justice system. While work remains to be done in order to restore Canadians' confidence in our justice system, the Harper Government is taking concrete steps to put the rights of victims first." "Sheldon Kennedy has been a tireless advocate for victims of sexual abuse and he has been a national leader in the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment," said Dave Hancock, Minister of Human Services. "The Alberta government is thrilled to be a partner of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. This centre supports Alberta's children and has a focus on results through collaboration that is truly consistent with the goals and vision of Alberta's Social Policy Framework."
"This Centre is critical to improving investigations focused on some of the most vulnerable people in our society," said Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson. "It allows for a more collaborative working environment in a family and child-friendly facility."
Margaret Fullerton, Vice President, Alberta Children's Hospital commented about what the Centre means for Children's Hospital. "Bringing four agencies together enables us to work together in the best interests of the child. Health professionals can begin therapy and treatment in a more timely fashion. Children are the centre of our focus and care, and further trauma is minimalized as they share their difficult story."
About Sheldon Kennedy
Sheldon Kennedy skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career but is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care.
Since that time, Sheldon has become an inspiration to millions of abuse survivors around the world and a committed, outspoken child advocate. His life story was made into an award winning television movie, he has appeared on Oprah, ABC's Nightline, W-5, The Fifth Estate and was named Canada's newsmaker of the year in 1997. In 1998, Sheldon in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of child abuse and donated all $1.2 million proceeds from the skate to the Canadian Red Cross - Respect Ed program.
In 2006, Sheldon wrote "Why I Didn't Say Anything" a riveting account of the many psychological impacts of abuse. He has received several awards for his tireless work including the Canadian Red Cross Caring Award, Scotiabank Humanitarian Award, an Honourary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of the Fraser Valley, the Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Beyond Borders Media Award. In December 2011, after the Penn State case broke, Sheldon took his message to the US Senate Hearing on Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect.
Sheldon continues to influence social change through Respect Group, the company he co-founded that provides empowering on-line education for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment in youth service organizations, schools and the workplace.
Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre
The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) is a child-focused centre of excellence that provides hope, help and healing to children, youth and families impacted by child abuse.
The four partner organizations and the CAC streamline and integrate services associated with child abuse - creating a one-stop, child-focused facility for children, youth and their families.
Caring and compassionate multi-discipline teams provide expert, integrated and coordinated wrap-around services to children and their families in a safe and child-friendly environment.
The partner organizations and the CAC will work together to lead the way in research, prevention, education, investigation, treatment and public awareness on child abuse.
| The four partner organizations are:
The Centre provides an environment that makes it safe for children to disclose their abuse. Once a disclosure is made, the CAC can help to minimize the impact of child abuse to the child and their family through:
- A reduction in the number of interviews required by the child victims to the Police, Child and Family Services, Alberta Health and Crown Prosecutors.
- Faster and strengthened investigative and prosecutorial practices.
- Increased access to support and therapeutic resources.
- Long-term support and follow-up for the child victim and their family.
The CAC is committed to intervening early and to providing children and their families with the resources needed to begin the healing process. There are too many examples of children who have gone through this trauma and have not disclosed their abuse or received treatment and struggle for years with addiction, mental health issues, or continue the cycle of abuse. Treatment and support is critical for these children and youth to be able to live healthy lives.
To truly tackle the issue of child abuse, the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre is committed to working with the community to engage and empower them to take responsibility and collectively respond to this issue. It takes all of us to get actively engaged, to break the silence and to respond to this issue so that we can do better by our children.
The CAC is designed to provide a safe, warm, child- and youth- friendly environment. The Centre is 25,000 square feet and is located on the 4th floor of the Child Development Centre, across the street from the Alberta Children's Hospital. Over 80 personnel (CAC and the partner organizations staff) work at the Centre.
SOURCE: Respect Group Inc.
For further information:
Trevor Beckman - Story Communications Inc.
Wendy Shaw Mason - Resina Communications