'Safe room' created for child victims

By Geoff Lee

May 3, 2016 6:00 AM

The Lloydminster Sexual Assault and Information Centre has created what amounts to a safe room for child victims of sexual abuse.
The Little Bear Advocacy Centre, as the space is called, will be open for public viewing for the first time on May 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We’ve been doing renovations over the last year and we’re doing kind of a debut for the community to take a look at see what we’ve been up to for the last year,” said Tiffany Falcon, the centre’s spokesperson.
She said an advocacy centre is a place for children and youth to come to if they are being interviewed by RCMP or available Child and Family Services professionals in a welcoming environment.
“It’s set up with three comfortable chairs and we have the video recording equipment, really soft colouring on the walls and then we have a table in there, so very simple,” said Falcon.
The videotaped interviews can be used to support cases brought before the courts.
Previously, children suspected of being sexually assaulted or abuse were interviewed more than once at the Lloydminster RCMP detachment.
“As you can imagine, being interviewed more than once can be kind of traumatizing for a child,” said Falcon.
The Little Bear Advocacy Centre will make the process far less intimidating for children or all ages.
“When we have a centralized location for them to come and interview and kind of have a collaborative approach with RCMP and Child and Family Services, that just makes the child feel less victimized by being interviewed,” said Falcon.
Falcon said the need for the room is based on the knowledge that statistics indicate that one in three girls and one in six boys can be sexually abused before the age of 18.
The open house will include three separate activity hours for children from 4 to 5 p.m., 5 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. while parents sit through one hour presentations on childhood sexual abuse. Call the centre at 306-825-8255 or send an email lsaic@sasktel.net to book a viewing.
A grand opening of the Little Bear Advocacy Centre will be held in the fall.

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