In an ideal world, Mark Jones would be out of a job.
It would mean that no children in Central Alberta were the victims of abuse and his team at the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre was no longer needed.
Until that happens, however, they’ll continue to help those hundreds of children each year who are brave enough to share what has happened to them.
When and where they’re needed
Because abuse can happen anywhere, the CACAC team is there to help when and where they’re needed, both in Red Deer and the region’s many outlying communities.
“We have worked in 54 different areas in Central Alberta and 53 per cent of all the children we work with are from outside Red Deer,” notes Jones, Centre CEO. “It’s really about making sure that if a child is abused, no matter where they are, there is a place for them.”
With fully integrated services that involve police, schools and families as well as health and counselling services, the centre takes a holistic approach to providing children and families the support they need.
- Since November 2017, 440 children and youth have been supported and 316 forensic interviews conducted
- Of the cases, 52 per cent involved sexual abuse, 20 per cent physical abuse and 28 per cent involved other abuse, including neglect, witness to domestic violence, emotional abuse, medical child abuse and sexual exploitation.
- 69 per cent of the children were female and 31 per cent male
Prevention is key
While response and treatment is critical for the victims of abuse, prevention is the ultimate goal. The CACAC is currently working with a local school district to bring the topic out of the shadows and get students talking.
While we talked a lot in the past about “stranger danger,” we know today that in 96 per cent of abuse cases CACAC sees, the victim knew the abuser; in 66 per cent of those, the abuser was a family member.
“These children have shown tremendous bravery in coming forward, and we need to be just as brave in talking about these issues,” Jones says.
It’s also why the centre’s new building and partnership with Red Deer College is critical in researching and developing prevention programs to better support Central Alberta children.
You can help: Get your tickets today for the Dream Home Lottery
By purchasing your chance to win some of the $1.8 million in prizes up for grabs in the Child Advocacy Centre’s Dream Home Lottery, you’re supporting children, youth and families impacted by sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect.
In addition to the beautiful, fully furnished $1.5-million+ new home by Abbey Platinum Master Built, you could win a Split 50 worth up to $500,000 (tickets are 1 for $10, 10 for $25, and 25 for $50); a 2019 GMC Cadillac; Signature diamond ring; fuel for a year and more!
Tickets are $35 each, three for $75, eight for $150 or 15 for $250 (ticket purchase deadline is 11 p.m. March 10, for the March 27 draw). Buy online at cacaclottery.ca, call 1-833-475-4402 or visit the house, 57 Larratt Close, Red Deer.
The Centre also welcomes volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of local children! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.