Nunavut plans to open centre for victims of child abuse
Iqaluit’s Umingmak Centre led by Arctic Children and Youth Foundation
A new child advocacy centre aimed at helping Nunavut’s victims of child abuse will open in Iqaluit in April, says Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak.
It will be led by the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, which has worked with the departments of Justice, Health, Education, and Family Services, as well as the RCMP and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
The Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, founded by Inuit leader Mary Simon, is a charitable organization created to help children and youth at all levels.
“The centre will be designed to address the needs of child victims and children who have witnessed a crime, and will meet the cultural needs of Nunavummiut,” the foundation says on its website.
“As a one-stop-shop, the centre will co-ordinate the efforts of the various service providers to ensure that all legal and forensic evidence is gathered.”
They’ve been working on the project since at least 2014, when they began advocating for centres to help Arctic youth.
The Umingmak Centre will be part of a “coordinated and compassionate” response to child abuse and neglect, Ehaloak told the legislature on Friday, Feb. 22.
“This new space will allow service providers to physically work together to optimize our care and support by decreasing multiple interviews and examinations, secondary trauma and suffering will hopefully be lessened,” Ehaloak said.
The focus of the centre, she explained, is to have children, their family and service providers feel safe and comfortable in their time of need.
Umingmak Centre will offer interviews, physical examinations and coordinated follow-up support until appropriate services are delivered.
On Feb. 25, Ehaloak told the Legislative Assembly the plan is that all staff at the centre will be bilingual in English and Inuktitut.
This was corrected on March 1 by the Department of Justice. Some staff will be available to provide services in Inuktitut, but not all.
“The structure of this initiative has been carefully planned to allow for a coordinated and compassionate approach to such a delicate situation,” said Ehaloak.