A physically and psychologically safe environment for young victims of child abuse and neglect to interviewed and offered support is now open locally.

In fact, the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) of Nipissing has been open for a few months with officials saying they’ve assisted 30 families so far.

The North Bay Police Service is one of the many partners involved.

Chief Scott Tod says there are forty centres like this around the province.

“We look at what other centres have done and we’ve taken some best advice, and we’ve also used some local content in regards to opening our doors,” he says. “We have shown and proven already just since the limited time we’ve been open in March, that it has some very positive benefits for both the victims of crime, the witnesses of crime, being children and youth and also for police investigations and those done by our child protection services.”

Officials say it’s far less intimidating for families to visit the centre compared to the police station.

The CYAC of Nipissing is situated in a safe and secure location in North Bay, that is easily accessible to families and service providers.

They also say the cooperative, team-approach support 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
The Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is accessed as needed through child protection services or police services.

(Logo submitted)


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