This week, May 15th to 21st 2022, marks Victims and Survivors of Crime Week in Canada. Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre here in the North Okanagan wants you to join us in our awareness campaign to draw attention to the incidences of child abuse and sexual assault in our region and to ensure that anyone who needs our service is aware that we are here for young victims and survivors of crime.
You may have already seen some of the informative content added this week to Oak Centre Instagram & Facebook. We want everyone in the North Okanagan to know that children and youth do not need to struggle alone when they experience sexual assault, abuse or witness any kind of violence. We want all to know there is a safe place to ask questions and there is someone ready to listen here at Oak Centre.
The abuse and violence children and youth are experiencing in the North Okanagan may not be what you thought. We see high incidences of child sexual abuse, a hidden and under reported crime that has long-lasting negative social, emotional and health effects. Over the past few years, we have seen more and more youth coming forward with experiences of peer-on-peer sexual assault. This is a crime that creates deep physical and emotional trauma as well as significant shame. Each young person that comes forward to share their story of abuse and violence is someone from our community that is standing up to injustice and beginning a journey of healing. Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is here to support that journey.
We have amazing staff! Oak Centre Child and Youth Victim Service Coordinators are advocates that can help children and youth and their safe caregivers gain the information they need to navigate the traumas they have experienced. Oak Centre staff help everyone feel safe and heard, they provide information about next steps and help navigate paths to healing. Oak Centre is a welcoming and child friendly place for an interview with police or child protection or meeting with any of our community partners. The centre itself, and all the work that happens within its walls, is designed to meet the child, youth and family where they are in their lives and provide a service that is uniquely tailored to the their needs.
Your help to bring awareness in the North Okanagan about Oak Child and youth Advocacy Centre is vital to our goal of providing services to those that need it. Your help could include sharing our posts on social media or spreading the word in your circles of influence about Oak Centre. Perhaps one day you will experience or know an individual or family that has experienced sexual assault, abuse or violence and you will remember Oak Centre.
Victims and Survivors of Crime Week is just one week of awareness raising, but for victims and survivors of crime it is a long journey and Oak Centre is there for them each step of the way.