1.0 Introduction

Since 2010, the Government of Canada has provided policy and program support to improve access to justice for child and youth victims of crime through the Federal Victims Strategy. This support has included grants and contributions funding to assist in the creation and enhancement of Child Advocacy Centres (CACs) and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres (CYACs) in Canada.1

CACs/CYACs provide a safe, trauma-informed, child-friendly facility where children, youth and their families can be interviewed and receive services and supports after the occurrence of child abuse or other violent victimization, including witnessing domestic violence. CACs/CYACs aim to reduce the number of interviews and questions directed at a child to minimize the potential for re-traumatization. As part of their model of service, CACs/CYACs establish Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) to provide a coordinated and collaborative approach to responding to the needs of children and youth, and their families. These teams include professionals from areas such as law enforcement, child protection, medical and mental health, and victim advocacy.

In 2014, the Department of Justice Canada developed and distributed a survey to CACs/CYACs across the country to collect information on each centre’s stage of development, what services were offered and how they were provided.2 Since the 2014 survey was circulated, the number of CACs/CYACs in Canada has more than doubled—from 23 centres in 2014 to 51 in 2023 (see Figure 1 for a map of CACs/CYACs).

This report describes the findings from the 2022–2023 CAC/CYAC National Operational Survey. Given that many new CACs/CYACs have been established in the eight years since the last operational survey, the purpose of the surveywas to provide an updated national picture of how CACs/CYACs work, their clientele and other key aspects of their operations. In addition, this edition of the survey collected information on emerging areas of service, such as the use of support dogs and virtual testimony. This information will be useful in supporting CACs/CYACs to collectively describe their work for evaluation and communication purposes, as well as to identify future research projects and priorities.

The 2022–2023 survey was designed to answer the following research questions:

Figure 1: 2023 map of CACs/CYACs

Figure 1: 2023 map of CACs/CYACs
Text version

This image shows the location of every CAC/CYAC on the Canadian map by their operational progress. On the top right side, the title of the map reads as “Map of Canadian Child Advocacy/Child and Youth Advocacy Centres 2023.”

There is a legend, entitled “Progress of CAC/CYAC,” on the bottom left side of the image. The legend explains that green represents open, blue represents in development, pink represents in feasibility, red represents exploring CYAC, and pink with a white centre represents open satellite. The legend notes that there are 39 open centres, 9 in development, one undergoing a feasibility study, two exploring CYACs, and one open satellite location. The legend also lists the following acronyms: “CAC: Child Advocacy Centre” and “CYAC: Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.”

Starting with the provinces, the top left side of the map shows a zoomed-in photo of Vancouver Island and Vancouver Coast. This image shows two operational centres on Vancouver Island: Raven’s Nest CYAC in Duncan and Victoria CYAC in Victoria. The image also shows two developing centres, Chilliwack Community Services (Chilliwack CYAC) in Chilliwack and Encompass Supports (Langley CYAC) in Langley. The rest of the centres on the coast are presented as operational: Treehouse CYAC in Vancouver, Sophie’s Place CYAC in Surrey, and Alisa’s Wish CYAC in Maple Ridge. On the map of British Columbia, there is one developing centre in Prince George, called Carrier Sekani Family Services (First Nations CYAC). In central east British Columbia, the map shows one centre undergoing a feasibility study, Shuswap Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Society in Salmon Arm, and four operational centres: Big Bear CYAC in Kamloops, Kelowna CAC in Kelowna, Oak CYAC in Vernon, and Safe Kids & Youth (SKY) (Virtual Model) in West Kootenay.

In Alberta, the map shows eight operational centres: Caribou CYAC in Grand Prairie, Bison CYAC in High Level, Care Child and Youth Centre in Fort McMurray, Zebra CYAC in Edmonton, Central Alberta CAC in Red Deer, Luna CYAC in Calgary, Chinook CAC in South Lethbridge, and Sanare Centre/Southeastern Alberta CAC in Medicine Hat.

In Saskatchewan, the map shows one exploring CYAC, called Fresh Start Program Inc. in Swift Current, and three operational centres: Little Bear CYAC in Lloydminster, Saskatoon Centre for Children’s Justice in Saskatoon, and Regina Children’s Justice Centre in Regina.

The map shows one operational centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, called Toba Centre for Children and Youth.

In Ontario, the map shows one exploring CYAC in Sudbury, called Sudbury NEOKIDS Advocacy Centre, and one developing centre in Kingston, called Kingston CYAC. In Northern and Eastern Ontario, the map shows four operational centres: Nipissing CYAC in North Bay, Counselling and Family Service Ottawa CYAC (Virtual Model) in Ottawa, Lanark CYAC in Carleton Place, and Koala Place in Cornwall. On the bottom right side, there is a zoomed-in photo of southern Ontario. This image shows two developing centres, Cedar Centre CYAC in Newmarket and Victim Services of Durham Region (Durham Region CYAC) in Oshawa, and one open satellite centre, Simcoe/Muskoka CYAC, in Barrie. The remaining six centres are presented as operational: Simcoe/Muskoka CYAC in Orillia, Windsor Essex CYAC in Windsor, Beacon House CYAC in London, Waterloo Region CYAC (Child Witness Centre) in Kitchener, Kristen French CAC Niagara in St. Catherine’s, and Boost CYAC in Toronto.

In Quebec, the map shows two operational centres: Services intégrés en abus et maltraitance (SIAM) in Québec city and Fondation Marie-Vincent CYAC in Montreal and a satellite location in the Montérégie region. There are also two developing centres: CER(e)F – Centre d’expertise regional à l’enfance et à la famille in Laval and Chaudière-Appalaches CYAC in Chaudière-Appalaches.

In New Brunswick, the map shows two operational centres: Boreal Child and Youth Expertise Centre in Dieppe and Kit’s Place CYAC in Saint John.

The figure shows one operational centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, called SeaStar CYAC.

The map does not show any centres in Prince Edward Island.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there is one centre in development in St. John’s, called North Star CYAC.

When looking at the territories, the map shows one operational centre, called Yukon Virtual CYAC, located in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The figure does not show any centres in the Northwest Territories.

In Nunavut, the map shows two operational centres: Kitikmeot Friendship Society (KFS) in Cambridge Bay and Umingmak Child and Youth Support Centre in Iqaluit.