The Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection (CSDEPJ) tabled its report on May 3. The Marie-Vincent Foundation salutes the colossal work done by the commissioners who put together the report with the objective of building a Quebec worthy of its children.

We could not agree more that we must create a caring society for our young people. At Marie-Vincent, this value motivates us daily and we have already taken action to make it a reality. Indeed, our vision is to build a protective community and to ensure unifying leadership in Quebec in the fight against violence done to children and adolescents. Like the Commissioners, we believe that protecting children is first and foremost a collective responsibility and that we all have a part to play in ensuring their well-being and development.

The importance of prevention

We are very pleased to see that the report puts an emphasis on prevention. At Marie-Vincent, we act even before violence occurs. Our actions are aimed at reducing the number of reports to the Director of Youth Protection and ensuring the healthy development of all children.

In our brief (in French), we recommended investing in effective sexual violence prevention strategies that focus on reducing risk factors and maximizing protective factors.

Making children the central focus of services

We are pleased that the CSDEPJ recommends putting the best interests of the child foremost in decisions and actions and that the Commission encourages fluid service trajectories that require greater collaboration among partners to better support youth and their families.

Marie-Vincent fits this model in every way. As a Child Advisory Services Centre (CAC), we offer, in one location and in collaboration with our partners, integrated services to young victims of sexual violence and their families. A youth who comes to Marie-Vincent has access to the following services, depending on their needs:

  • On-site police investigative interview in partnership with the various police forces
  • Medical examination with on-site physicians from children’s hospitals
  • Immediate intervention service for parents and teenagers, provided by qualified and dedicated workers
  • Psychosocial intervention service for children, adolescents and parents, provided by caring professionals
  • Multi-sectoral assessment of the needs of children and adolescents
  • Psychotherapeutic services to children and adolescents, provided by experienced psychotherapists
  • Socio-legal services provided in tandem with CAVACS, the Direction des poursuites criminelles et pénales and the Bureau d’indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC).

This service model is effective because it minimizes potential secondary trauma, and because it fosters better coordination of actions, always with the child’s best interests at heart.

Moreover, by working together with youth and their families, we can help to:

  • prevent a child from having to travel to and from several locations to receive all the services they need;
  • ensure that there will be no service gaps;
  • better support them throughout all possible difficulties and ordeals;
  • facilitate intervention in cases involving multiple, complex issues;
  • enhance the effectiveness of the specialized services offered by Marie-Vincent; enable access to all services, at the right time and by the right people.

At Marie-Vincent, we have implemented this practice since 2005. In addition to offering services to youth and their families, from disclosure to therapeutic treatment under one roof, Marie-Vincent is the only CAC in Canada that funds its own research chair. This collaboration keeps us on the lookout for best practices in psychosocial interventions.

For us, this intersectoral collaboration for the benefit of children is important, and we pursue this direction with the opening of a second children’s advisory services centre in Châteauguay (Montérégie region), where we will also provide services to young victims of physical violence.

In short, it is with great hope that we receive the CSDEPJ’s recommendations. At Marie-Vincent, we will continue to support children and adolescents who are victims of sexual and physical abuse by providing the services they need, under one roof and in collaboration with our partners. We contribute to the prevention of violence through education, awareness, and by helping children with problematic sexual behaviours.

To visit the Marie-Vincent Foundation

To read the brief submitted by Marie-Vincent Foundation