Thursday April 11, 2013

Research Update 

The PowerPoint for this presentation can be seen at   

Children’s Advocacy Centres
Next Steps Meeting, Toronto, April 2013

Susan McDonald, Principal Researcher at the Department of Justice Canada, described the new multi-site, multi-year study on CACs that is now underway. It will look at five CACs, in different parts of the country, all in different stages of development. Site visits and interviews will be conducted.

She also noted that a compendium of CACs around the world that has been compiled by the Research Department.

A draft of  the research on the role of the victim advocate is now available: Addressing the Needs of Child Victims and Their Families: The Role of the Victim Advocate,  prepared Melissa Northcott, Research and Statistics Division, Department of Justice Canada, by Melissa Notyhcott. (on the memory sticks disrtibuted). Susan also noted other new research products – Just Facts  – is a summary of  research that’s publicly available.  Building Knowledge is a series of one-pagers –  based on current information from Stats Canada, on issues such as incidence on sexual assault,  which age groups are most affected, etc.  These updates will be available every few months.

Slide 4 is a map of the developing CACs across Canada.  The map denotes the location and different stages of development of 25 CACs – from feasibility study to fully operational.

Slides 5 – 9 describe the most recent research from Statistics Canada on police- reported victimization of children and youth. Youth ages 15 – 17 experience the highest incidence of victimization.

The full article about this study can be read online, in the Victims of Crime Research Digest (issue 6/2013) at  .  See pages 2 through 11.



QUESTION:   Have we compared police reported incidents to the number of incidents reported to child protection?


RESPONSE :  There is no such research yet. Police records are standardized but child protection services are not. They have different mandates. There are differing definitions for each offence and agency  — which makes it challenging to make comparisons.


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QUESTION:   NCAC (in the United States) has standardized  processes for data management.   Is there a goal in Canada  to  look at more uniform methods of  documentation /  collection  on outcomes?

Will there be a more uniformed method of collecting data?


RESPONSE :  The challenge is that some jurisdictions must use a particular information management system. The Department of Justice has created a wish list of information they would like organizations to collect.   There’s a spread sheet on your USB sticks.  It shows how we at DOJ  would love organizations to collect this kind of data.


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QUESTION:   Can you offer any  preliminary reports  on the multi-site study now in progress?


ANSWER: Not yet.  But there are tools available.  We will put those tools online — they are  now being reviewed by staff.


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QUESTION:    Regarding CACs worldwide – have they collected relevant evaluation or impact data?


ANSWER: Nothing was publicly available internationally, other than from the US. The reasons why evaluations or research is not done are complex.  Some organizations may be reluctant to have findings published – because results may not always be positive. Academics are less interested in research they can’t publish,  that requires long time commitments, and ends in results that can be challenging to analyze. Lack of funding is always an issue.


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 QUESTION:     Why is there no demonstration of causality between  CACs and justice outcomes?


RESPONSE: The CAC controls the investigation, and follow-up. But when it comes to the court process… the  CAC cannot control that.   What happens in court cannot be controlled – so therefore causation cannot be attributed.



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