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The VCAPCC unveils its new spaces during Child Abuse Awareness Month

The Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre (VCAPCC) unveiled its new child and family friendly spaces this week

Healthcare
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The VCAPCC unveils its new spaces during Child Abuse Awareness Month

The Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre (VCAPCC) unveiled its new child and family friendly spaces this week

Spaces include this "outdoor" playroom, activity rooms, therapy spaces and lounge areas. Photo: Sidney Coles / Capital Daily
Spaces include this "outdoor" playroom, activity rooms, therapy spaces and lounge areas. Photo: Sidney Coles / Capital Daily
Healthcare
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The VCAPCC unveils its new spaces during Child Abuse Awareness Month

The Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre (VCAPCC) unveiled its new child and family friendly spaces this week

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The VCAPCC unveils its new spaces during Child Abuse Awareness Month
Spaces include this "outdoor" playroom, activity rooms, therapy spaces and lounge areas. Photo: Sidney Coles / Capital Daily

The Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre (VCAPCC) has completed renovations and upgrades to its 1208 Wharf St. location and is showcasing how it has transformed what was once a warehouse and club space into safe, inclusive and comfortable spaces for children, youth and their families who have been impacted by abuse.

Executive director Laura Vye says she’s excited about what the new spaces mean to individual children but also to the Greater Victoria community. “The impacts of childhood abuse are devastating, to not only the child but also their families, their siblings, anybody connected to them. And that impacts our society. We need to start putting our efforts and our resources and our money into helping children and youth that are in crisis because they're our future.”

Vye served with the Saanich Police force for 26 years. She worked in the child abuse unit and with sexually exploited youth as the Global Youth Services team officer. Her fit as ED with the VCAPCC is a natural one and the centre benefits from her years of experience and networking in the sector. 

According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of children who have experienced both physical and non-physical maltreatment before the age of 15 in BC is far above the national average. In the Maritime provinces, the average is 55.7%, in BC it’s 69.5%. These numbers have knock on effects that can be felt across systems.

Child Health BC defines physical abuse as any physical force or action that results, or could result, in injury to a child and sexual abuse as the use of a child for sexual gratification. It includes sexual touching as well as non-touching abuse, such as making a child watch sexual acts.

On a broader social scale, physical and emotional impacts linked to child abuse and neglect tax healthcare systems, education and justice systems.“Unresolved trauma can really show up,” said Vye, “when people are adults, in all of these social problems that we're seeing on our streets in our society with people becoming criminally involved experiencing homelessness, drug issues, all those things that inform the rest of their lives.”

Getting children and youth the protection and support they need in early intervention programs like those offered at VCAPCC means better life outcomes for victims and their families.

Victorians have been lucky to have had access to child abuse and prevention services for nearly half a century, thanks to the pioneering work of Mary Manning and Rita Millot, the two therapists who founded the VCAPCC’s predecessor, the Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Society of Greater Victoria. The centre is Victoria's only non-profit agency dedicated to the treatment and support of child victims of abuse, and the prevention of child abuse in all forms.

In 2022, the newly named VCAPCC moved to a new space downtown where all its services and programs could be co-located. The new location houses child-centred and trauma-informed spaces, with designated play and art therapy rooms, counselling offices, and two child-friendly forensic interview rooms.  

On the tour of the facility, Vye explained that only one client family is invited, at a time, to be interviewed in order to maintain confidentiality. The interview rooms are soundproof and inviting and have lighting options for children who are neurodivergent or who also may need softened tones to reduce anxiety. In the future, she explained, one of their interview rooms will be used as a remote location for child-testimony so families won’t necessarily have to go to far less child-friendly court rooms downtown.

Other spaces at the VCAPCC include a cheerful, nature-themed play room and an art-focused “Butterfly” room where children have access to art supplies they can use to express their experience and feelings.

The VCAPCC also has a satellite Child and Youth Advocacy Centre location in the Westshore equipped with an interview room, a monitoring room and a meeting room. “It’s centrally located, Vye said, “so that Westshore communities like Sooke and other surrounding Indigenous communities can access those services.” 

VCAPCC has formed strong professional relationships with partner agencies in the Westshore so children and their caregivers do not have to travel a great distance for services and support.

“We have numerous different police departments and child protection officers and agencies throughout greater Victoria,” said Vye, “and we have formed really good working relationships and partnerships with all of those police departments, RCMP, the Child Protection offices.”

It is important for community members to note that, under the BC Child, Family and Community Service Act, anyone who has reason to believe that a child or youth has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, and the parent is unwilling or unable to protect them, has a legal obligation to report the abuse to a child welfare worker.

If you believe a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Call 1 800 663-9122 at any time of the day or night.

contact@capitaldaily.ca

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The VCAPCC unveils its new spaces during Child Abuse Awareness Month
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