Child & Youth Advocacy Centre
Toronto's first Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) opened on October 1st, 2013. The goal of a CYAC is to ensure that children and youth who are victims of abuse, and their families receive the very best child-focused investigation, treatment, support services, and advocacy under one roof. The Child Advocacy Centre model is well known in the United States and other parts of the world, but relatively new to Canada. The following ten community partners have worked together with the Service to make the CYAC possible:
- Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre
- The Hospital for Sick Children, Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Program
- Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
- Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
- Jewish Family and Child
- Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
- Child Development Institute
- Ministry of the Attorney General, Victim/Witness Assistance Program
- Radius Child & Youth Services, SAFE-T Program
The objective of the CYAC is to have a collaborative team focused on the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases. The result is a seamless response to child abuse victims in a "child-friendly" environment. The Centre has brought together dedicated and specially trained police, child protection workers, medical and mental health experts. Victims and their families can access crisis support, specialized assessment, treatment and court preparation under one roof. This ensures that the child or youth are interviewed once and eliminates the need to attend multiple locations.
Toronto’s CYAC is one of only a few in Canada with the Police, a Nurse Practitioner and a medical exam room located at the Centre. Informal meetings and consultation with all partners occur daily. Case reviews and peer reviews of interviews with an expert from Sick Kids occur regularly. The reviews enhance the investigative process, the potential for successful outcomes and improve forensic interviewing skills. Members discuss investigations, concerns, updates and plan next steps.
The CYAC is a true partnership between the community, private and public sectors. All Partner Agencies have committed staff and resources to planning and implementation; The Federal and Provincial Governments contributed funds to the project and the concept has already received significant donations from various Toronto-based foundations and donors.
Divisions Served by the CYAC
The CYAC investigates incidents in central Toronto and part of North York. This is 14 of Toronto’s 16 Divisions (11, 12, 13, 14, 51, 52, 53, 55, 22, 23, 31, 32 and 33 Division). The eventual goal is to provide these same services across the city.
TPS CYAC Investigative Mandate
- Physical assaults, or neglect occurrences when the victim is under 16 years of age and the suspect is a caregiver, parent or a person in a position of trust or authority.
- Sexual offences when the victim is under 18 years of age, the suspect is known and the offences are not within the mandate of the Sex Crimes Unit, investigative office.
- Investigators also collaborate with the Division and/or Homicide in the event of a suspicious death of a child under the age of 16 in any division city-wide.
The CYAC is located at 245 Eglinton Ave East, 2nd floor. Investigators are available from 0730 to 2200 hours. An on–call child abuse investigator can be reached after hours through the Toronto Police Operations Centre (TPOC).