THE CANADIAN CHILD ABUSE ASSOCIATION (CCAA) WAS FORMED IN 1985 IN RESPONSE TO A GROWING NEED FOR A COORDINATED, PROFESSIONAL APPROACH TO CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS.
Who We Are
The CCAA's Clinical Coordinator, Leiane Smith, is a registered social worker in the province of Alberta who has worked extensively within the child welfare system with maltreated children, and has particular expertise in court preparation services. Alice Gifford, our administrator, has worked with the CCAA since its very beginning, and also assists with court accompaniment.
We are ably assisted by a group of devoted volunteers who accompany children, teens, and their parents or caregivers to court. The Clinical Coordinator trains and supervises the volunteers.
The CCAA is registered as a non-profit society and is overseen by a Board of Directors. The current Board includes social workers, members of the Calgary Police Service, a university professor, and a psychologist. Past members of the Board include Crown prosecutors, Alberta Justice legal counsels, and treatment specialists.
WHAT WE DO
The Canadian Child Abuse Association was established in 1985 in response to a growing need for a coordinated, professional approach to child abuse investigations. The CCAA offered a broad array of training and educational opportunities for social workers, police officers, and others involved in the investigatory process, as well as advocating for interdisciplinary practice and professional collaboration. While the CCAA currently offers on-line training in evidence-based practice for professionals conducting forensic interviews with children and adolescents, the provision of court preparation and accompaniment is now our major focus.
Even for most adults, testifying in court is the most stressful phase when participating in an adversarial criminal justice system. Children's stress is heightened by confusing questions, adult-oriented language, and questions about their credibility. The court preparation program is designed to familiarize children and teens to court roles and language, memory techniques, techniques to decrease anxiety, as well as a courtroom tour. Parents or other caregivers participate in their own sessions to enable them to support their children at court. Volunteers trained and supervised by the CCAA staff are available to accompany children and parents to court and provide support and reduce further traumatization. The CCAA also offers training to agencies or programs to develop their own court preparation/accompaniment programs.