Our Centre

Our Centre

Toba Centre for Children & Youth is Manitoba’s only child advocacy centre, focusing on the needs of children and youth who have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse or witnessed violence. We coordinate and collaborate with our partners (police, child and family services, victim services) to address the needs of children and their families at the time of the child’s interview, providing a better and less traumatic response. Our model is child-focused and designed to foster best practices in child abuse investigations. We are in the process of transforming our current response to child abuse, growing and evolving our organization to serve our community better.

What is a Child Advocacy Centre?

Child advocacy centres feature child-friendly spaces in which law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy professionals work together to investigate abuse, help children heal from abuse, and hold offenders accountable.

This model was developed in the USA in the 1980s. It was created to reduce the amount of stress placed on child and youth victims during sexual abuse investigations and to address the lack of coordination between social services and the criminal justice system that has required victims to repeat their stories during multiple interviews by different agencies, often conducted by staff who are not trained in child development.

What we do

In common with other child advocacy centres, Toba Centre shares the belief that the combined wisdom of professional knowledge and disciplines will result in a more complete understanding of the case and the most effective child-focused system response. Our centre provides an opportunity for police, child and family services, and victim services workers to come together in one location for the purpose of the forensic interview.

It is our job,
everyday, to look for
ways to better
support children
impacted by abuse
and to lead systemic
change. We take that
responsibility very
seriously.

Each year there
are more than

200,000

investigations

of reported child abuse and neglect in Canada.
Child abuse is anything that intentionally endangers the development, security or survival of a child; the act of emotionally, sexually or physically harming a child.

Source: Zebra Child Protection Centre and Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre.

Forensic Interviewing

Toba Centre for Children & Youth employs two highly skilled and experienced forensic interviewers who conduct child victim and witness interviews. These interviews are conducted in a manner that is developmentally and culturally sensitive, and of a neutral, fact-finding nature. Our forensic interviewers adhere to best-practices, creating an interview environment that enhances free recall, minimizes interviewer influence, and gathers information needed by all partner agencies to avoid duplicative interviewing.

Case Navigation

The objective of the Case Navigator Program at Toba Centre for Children & Youth is to ensure that the well-being and recovery of children who have experienced abuse or witnessed violence, and that of their families/caregivers, is prioritized. Case Navigators provide consistent and continuous support to children and families/caregivers as they navigate both the systems involved in the response to child abuse, as well as their individual journeys towards healing and justice.

FAQs

If you have additional questions about our centre, we
would be happy to answer them.

Appointments are scheduled through a coordinated process with police, child and family services, and victim services.  Speak with the police officer and/or child and family services worker who is involved with your family about whether your child will be interviewed at Toba Centre. 

Toba Centre is a charitable organization.  Our employees are not police or child and family services staff.  Police agencies and child and family services agencies are partners in the multi-disciplinary team approach to child abuse investigations at Toba Centre.  Police are present for all child victim interviews at the centre and child and family services may also be present. 

Typically, you can tell your child the day prior to the interview, or even on the way to the interview so that they are aware of the interview, without causing them too much anxiety. 

Explain to your child that it is the interviewer’s job to listen to kids and that they talk to many children every day.  Let your child know that it is alright for them to talk about everything that has happened to them.  Tell your child that they are not in trouble and that it is important for them to tell the truth. 

Upon arrival at our centre, you and your child will be greeted by one of our staff members who will show you to our family room.  A team of professionals that includes police, a child forensic interviewer, case navigator, child and family services workers, and victim services may be present at Toba Centre for the interview.  Your child will be interviewed by the child forensic interviewer and one or more of the other professionals may meet with you during or following the interview. 

The interviewer will speak with your child alone.  It may actually be more difficult for children to talk about details of a traumatic event with their parent present.  The presence of a parent in the room may also distract or inhibit children during an interview.  In addition, children are likely to expect parents to answer questions for them however, it is best if children can provide information on their own. 

You may wish to reassure your child that during the interview, you will be close by, waiting in the family room, and that you will be there when the interview is complete.