LONDON, ONTARIO— A new centre will soon be opening its doors in London, Ontario. Beacon House Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) will be a multidisciplinary setting designed to create a safe space where children and youth who have been abused only need to share their story once. Leading the launch is the London Family Court Clinic (LFCC).
In the current system, children and youth may be required to speak to many different professionals such as doctors, child protection workers, counsellors, and police officers at varying locations after experiencing a traumatic event.
“Having these professionals in one location reduces the risk of further trauma from repeatedly recounting the event,” explains Tuhin Jajal, LFCC Executive Director.
The Beacon House CYAC is slated to be a hub for community collaboration in a unique partnership between LFCC and London Police Service, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and the Children’s Aid Society of London-Middlesex.
“Building Beacon House in partnership with London Police Service, Children’s Aid Society London-Middlesex and St. Joseph’s Health Care London allows us to create a singular access point and location for children and their families, and allows LFCC to assist in system and clinical navigation and integration in a timely and impactful manner,” says Jajal. “Evidence has demonstrated that early intervention has longstanding positive outcomes for victims and survivors of abuse.”
Children and youth will be immediately connected with an Advocate Worker at the CYAC who will guide them through a system of reporting and multidisciplinary care, and into long-term support programs within the community. This advocacy and navigation will take place under one roof so the family can focus on receiving care and not struggle with system barriers.
“The Beacon House will be a child friendly and welcoming space where children who have experienced abuse can tell us what happened to them and get the support they need afterward,” said Detective Sergeant Katherine Dann of the London Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section.
“Partnership is key in the CYAC,” adds Jajal. “The advocates can focus their energy and skills on serving the child and family by ensuring seamless intervention and community care access. In turn, the victims and survivors can focus their energy on dealing with the trauma of abuse. We are creating a space and system truly dedicated to serve one of our most vulnerable populations.”
The Beacon House CYAC, with LFCC as the lead agency, receives support from Justice Canada. It Is one of more than 30 CYACs across Canada. Though each centre is unique, they have each proven to be successful in providing wholistic services to children and youth.
“Through collaboration with our community partners, we are excited to build a multidisciplinary team of specialists under one roof to advocate for child and youth victims and survivors of violence and abuse,” says Jajal.
You can help
Support from community donors and businesses is helping to prepare the Beacon House Child and Youth Advocacy Centre space within the London Family Court Clinic building at 200 – 254 Pall Mall St., which is slated to open before the end of 2022. Further donations are needed, including toys, snacks, small office furniture, and more. If you’d like to contribute, visit www.beaconhouselondon.ca/donate for more information and learn how your donation will make a lasting impact on the life of a child. One hundred per cent of ALL donations are used towards service delivery for child victims and survivors of abuse.
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