News Release Article from  Justice Canada

Minister MacKay Highlights the Government's Efforts to Combat Sexual Abuse Against Children

Details of New Legislation Geared at Crimes Against Youth Presented at Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

February 28, 2014 – Calgary, AB  – Department of Justice Canada

At an event at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary today, Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, provided details of the Government’s comprehensive legislation to better address the issue of sexual offences committed against children, which further supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to stand up for young victims of crime.

These new measures, introduced in the House of Commons on February 26, reflect the Government’s commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to re-establish Canada as a country where those who break the law are punished for their actions, where penalties match the severity of crimes committed, and where the most vulnerable victims – children – are better protected.

To support young victims of crime, the Government has already provided $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres (CAC), including the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, since 2010. So far, CAC projects have been funded in 20 cities or municipalities across Canada. Teams of professionals at these centres help young victims and witnesses cope with the trauma they have experienced and help them navigate the criminal justice system.

Quick facts

The proposed new measures include:

  • Requiring those receiving separate sentences at the same time for contact child sexual offences against multiple children to serve their sentences consecutively – one after another;
  • Requiring those sentenced at the same time for child pornography offences and contact child sexual offences to serve their sentences consecutively;
  • Increasing maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences;
  • Increasing penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders;
  • Ensuring that a crime committed while on house arrest, parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence is an aggravating factor at sentencing;
  • Ensuring that spousal testimony is available in child pornography cases;
  • Requiring registered sex offenders to provide more information regarding travel abroad;
  • Enabling information-sharing on certain registered sex offenders between officials responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry and at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and
  • Establishing a publicly accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a public notification in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction to assist in ensuring the safety of our communities.

Quotes

“With the many personal stories that we hear about and the increasingly important number of lives which are impacted by such abuse, it is clear that something must be done to stop the rise in rates of child sexual abuse in Canada and better protect our children.  Through the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act our Government is building on the significant work we have already accomplished in collaboration with other important advocates such as the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, to fight for the safety and security of children and youth and of our communities for the benefit of all Canadians. We will ensure the justice system is more responsive and effective for our most vulnerable – our children.”

Peter MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“These measures represent a positive shift in how we -- as a community-- address child sexual abuse.  Not only does this legislation demand tougher judicial outcomes for the perpetrators of theses horrific crimes, but it also keeps the focus where the focus belongs -- on the child victims.  I applaud the Minister and Canada for taking steps to better address the full magnitude of sexual crimes against children.”

Sheldon Kennedy
Child Advocate and namesake, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre

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Contacts

  • Paloma Aguilar
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621
  • Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207

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