Calgary

Reports of child abuse expected to rise in Calgary

Calgary's police chief warns that the number of reported child abuse cases in the city is about to skyrocket over the next couple of years.

Calgary's police chief warns that the number of reported child abuse cases in the city is about to skyrocket over the next couple of years.

Rick Hanson told a city council committee Wednesday morning the spike will come with the opening of the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre this fall.

The centre is a partnership which brings together all services required by the victims of child abuse — from police to prosecutors to Alberta Health Services to Child and Family Services.

"When the doors of the Child Advocacy Centre open, you will find that Calgary — based on StatsCan data — will have the highest levels of child abuse in this country," he said. "But that's not because more of it's happening here. It's because, finally, the victims of this crime will have a place to go where they will feel comfortable and supported in reporting that crime."

Hanson says victims of child abuse often don't report the crime because they don't feel supported or that their word will be taken seriously.

"We make it more comfortable for victims to come forward when they know that the system is gonna be there to work for them, there's gonna be more people coming forward, more young people, more kids that are gonna say 'This is happening to me and I need help.'"

Ald. John Mar says big swings in crime stats do catch people's attention so it's good that the chief has flagged what will likely happen.

"This child advocacy is all about bringing this issue to light and being able to address this where it lives," he said.

now