A place of refuge
Health | April 8, 2015
Pulling our children out of the shadows cast by sexual abuse and giving them the life that they deserve.
We are invested in the health, happiness and protection of Canadian youth. That’s why the Marie-Vincent Foundation is so important to us. They are the only organization in Canada working with children 12 and under who are victims of sexual assault. Year after year there are 200 to 225 new cases of sexual abuse in brought to the Centre d’expertise Marie-Vincent. In Quebec, one out of five girls and one out of ten boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. Something has to change, and that’s why we are proud to partner with the foundation.
“Before the creation of the Centre d’Expertise in 2005, sexually assaulted children had to go to the hospital, police station and social services, and there wasn’t necessarily therapy offered.”
Executive Director of the Marie-Vincent Foundation
Children arrive at the Centre d’expertise Marie-Vincent having experienced the unfathomable. Each week, the Centre works with between 40 and 60 children, and since 2005, they have helped close to 1,700 children. To help children who aren’t able to travel to Montreal, the Centre trains professionals throughout Quebec to properly help those who need it most. Danielle-Gabrielle Roy, Executive Director of the Foundation, said, “with the appropriate treatment beginning as early as possible after the abuse, there is a good chance that we will succeed in getting children back on a good path and that these youngsters will grow to become well-adjusted adults with a strong sense of self-esteem.”
Before 2005, no one followed-up with these children. Today, Marie-Vincent conducts follow-ups at six months, one year and two years, to ensure their intervention was effective. In addition, the Centre has built a strong network between the police and doctors working in Montreal’s two pediatric hospitals.
As a result of the invaluable services Marie-Vincent offers, the children they work with experience less long-term effects, such as change in behavior, anger, nightmares, difficulty in school, or a shift in the relationships with their parents, teachers and siblings. The therapy Marie-Vincent offers is effective and they have found that up to two years later, children are thriving.
The money from our Montreal Community Board helped supply the Marie-Vincent Foundation with a police investigation room, installed with up-to-date recording technology. Having this room and technology at the Centre d’expertise Marie-Vincent means the children can provide statements that are admissible in court, while staying in one place. The results prove that a child who has been hurt doesn’t have to carry that burden with them for life.