“It is not only sunny outside, it’s sunny inside today”, said Richard Allaire after being introduced by Elise Lauzon-Alguire, the Executive Director of the new centre. Mr. Allaire is the centre’s Board Chairperson.
The Centre is a result of the 2005 public inquiry. “For a child, youth, and their family, disclosing physical or sexual abuse is one of the most difficult things they will have to do. As a community and as professionals we have the responsibility to support these children and youth, and make it as easy and comfortable for them as possible”, Mr. Allaire continued. In 2006, a group of volunteer community leaders saw a need and came together to form what is now proudly baring the name Place Koala.
The Centre began offering services January 6 and has already helped 11 families. Its board of directors is comprised of key members of 12 partner organizations, such as Police Services, CAS, Victim Services, SASS and more.
“We’re here to announce a legacy really,” said Police Chief Dan Parkinson who is also on the Board of Directors. “Us being a precedent to other communities will hopefully put us on the map as a community that knows how to deal with this kind of trauma very effectively.”
But how is the Centre different? First, it is a safe and cozy environment, put together to make victims feel at ease. Second, it brings all the available resources under one roof, for the victims. “Here, all the mandates come together… It’s to reduce the hopping of services, try to alleviate how many times the child has to tell her story and it’s much more friendly than a police station”, said Rachelle Daignault, CAS’ Executive Director, “We are very proud of being associated with the Centre.”
The realization of this project would not have been possible without the financial support from the Department of Justice Canada’s Victims Fund, and other key community partners.
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