It has been a busy first year and a half at the Child Advocacy Centre Simcoe/Muskoka (CACSM) office in Barrie.
More than 400 forensic interviews have been conducted with children and youth who have been mentally and/or physically abused or have been exploited online.
It has not been easy. Their stories are heart-wrenching.
Giving children a safe place to discuss what has happened
In-house facilitators work with police and the Child Aid Society at a time when victims are having trust issues. “If you think about a child, or a young person, that has been abused – often times by people that they care about and they love – we want to help minimize any additional trauma,” says CAC Executive Director, Tracey Carter.
The length of the process depends on the length of the investigation itself..the nature of it…the thoroughness of it. There have been a few cases staff have seen through from beginning to end, mainly among youthful victims. Carter says the work continues as long as a child or youth wants to stay in touch, “Like helping children sign up for camps or other programs that maybe they wouldn’t have been able to have access to…simple things like that can really help these young people heal and move forward.
With no government funding, the CACSM has had to be creative in how it gets its resources and careful about how they’re allocated. Front line support, says Carter, is key.
The $50,000 raised at the Chief’s Gala will help for now, but ongoing support is a necessity.
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