Advocacy for Victoria-area children subjected to abuse

ORCA Children’s Advocacy Centre Society is a nonprofit, charitable organization established in 2009 to meet the needs of children subjected to sexual and physical abuse.

ORCA’s overall objective is to establish the first integrated Children’s Advocacy Centre on Vancouver Island based on an integrated model that has been implemented over the past 3 decades to reduce trauma to children, support families, increase conviction rates, and make efficient use of resources such as reducing prosecution and court time. 

ORCA’s immediate objective is to address critical gaps in current services to Victoria-area children. Our first action is to create a child-friendly and child-centred space where children can be interviewed for the purposes of child protection and criminal justice proceedings. Currently, children are interviewed at police stations or in adult environments that do not adequately meet their needs of comfort, confidentiality, and safety.

Such a space must be suited to the child and based on good practice; for example, using soft furnishings that help the child feel secure. It can also dramatically improve the quality of a child’s interview as it can be conducted by a fully trained professional confidentially, without interruption, and ideally one time to minimize the child’s trauma. The child interview space would be available for use by police and other child-serving professionals involved in a child’s case. 

For further information about ORCA, visit www.orcacentre.ca or contact me at serena.bedwal@orcacentre.ca.
—Serena Bedwel
Project Assistant, ORCA Children’s Advocacy Centre Society

Serena Bedwel,. Advocacy for Victoria-area children subjected to abuse. BCMJ, Vol. 56, No. 10, December, 2014, Page(s) 485 - News.



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