Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)

Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYACs)Footnote1 arose out of a need to reduce stress placed on child/youth victims during sexual abuse investigations. Previously, a lack of coordination between social services and the criminal justice system meant victims were interviewed multiple times by different agencies, often by people untrained in child development. CACs have been developed to create a safe place for child victims and their non-offending caregivers. They feature child friendly spaces, a multidisciplinary team approach with police, social services, victim advocates, and medical personnel working together as well as victim advocacy and support. As of 2016, 22 CACs are operating in Canada, and at least seven other sites are currently developing or exploring the model. This study was commissioned by the Department of Justice (Department) to better understand how Canadian CACs are developing and operating; measure client satisfaction with CACs; measure client satisfaction with the criminal justice system’s process and outcomes; and measure how CACs meet the following Federal Victims Strategy (FVS) objectives: increasing access to victim services, enhancing capacity to deliver appropriate and responsive services to victims, and reducing financial and non-financial hardships for victims. Three main data sources informed this report: case file data from the CACs, client interviews (child/youth victims and non-offending caregivers), and Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) interviews. Researchers also interviewed CAC stakeholders, including members of boards of directors and local politicians, and conducted a criminal justice system satisfaction survey. Researchers conducted 109 MDT interviews (with 125 individuals) and 123 in-person interviews with 26 child victims (aged five to 11), 17 youth victims (aged 12 to 19), five adults who had been victims as children (i.e., deemed historical cases), and 75 non-offending caregivers. 2022-11-03 Department of Justice Canada open_government@justice.gc.ca Government and PoliticsHealth and SafetyLawSociety and CultureChildrenFamily lawChild Advocacy Centres Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)HTML https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/cac-cae/index.html Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)HTML https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/cae-cac/index.html Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)PDF https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/cac-cae/cac-cae-eng.pdf Understanding the Development and Impact of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)PDF https://www.justice.gc.ca/fra/pr-rp/jr/cae-cac/cae-cac-fr.pdf

Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYACs)Footnote1 arose out of a need to reduce stress placed on child/youth victims during sexual abuse investigations. Previously, a lack of coordination between social services and the criminal justice system meant victims were interviewed multiple times by different agencies, often by people untrained in child development.

CACs have been developed to create a safe place for child victims and their non-offending caregivers. They feature child friendly spaces, a multidisciplinary team approach with police, social services, victim advocates, and medical personnel working together as well as victim advocacy and support. As of 2016, 22 CACs are operating in Canada, and at least seven other sites are currently developing or exploring the model.

This study was commissioned by the Department of Justice (Department) to better understand how Canadian CACs are developing and operating; measure client satisfaction with CACs; measure client satisfaction with the criminal justice system’s process and outcomes; and measure how CACs meet the following Federal Victims Strategy (FVS) objectives: increasing access to victim services, enhancing capacity to deliver appropriate and responsive services to victims, and reducing financial and non-financial hardships for victims.

Three main data sources informed this report:

case file data from the CACs, client interviews (child/youth victims and non-offending caregivers), and Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) interviews. Researchers also interviewed CAC stakeholders, including members of boards of directors and local politicians, and conducted a criminal justice system satisfaction survey. Researchers conducted 109 MDT interviews (with 125 individuals) and 123 in-person interviews with 26 child victims (aged five to 11), 17 youth victims (aged 12 to 19), five adults who had been victims as children (i.e., deemed historical cases), and 75 non-offending caregivers.

Data and Resources

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