Department of Justice

Project Lynx

Victim Services

Project Lynx: Helping Children & Youth Victims

A key concern of parents is keeping their children safe. When children or youth are victims of crime, this can be very hard for parents and caregivers as well as the young victims.

If a child is a victim of crime, Victim Services can provide support for the child and their family members.

If your child has been accused of a crime, please visit the Youth Justice website on how to help your child.

What Victim Services can do for children & youth victims

Victim Services provides a range of support and information to all victims of crime, including children and youth. In terms of children and youth, we:

  • Provide crisis support (no appointment needed) for parents, children and other affected family members.
  • Listen and help young victims tell their story and be heard.
  • Help children and parents develop a safety plan if needed.
  • Work with others in the criminal justice process to minimize any possible trauma to children and youth (see the Lynx Project for more information).
  • Help victims get support from other agencies.

How might child or youth victims be affected?

Being victimized can shatter a young person’s view of the world as a safe place. Children and youth may be affected by crime in many ways, emotionally and physically.

At different development stages, children may express emotions differently.

Responses can include things like being more clingy, withdrawing, having stomach aches or exhibiting anxiety and depression. They might deny there is anything wrong. They might “act out” when they find it hard to express their feelings.

Parents and family can also be affected by a crime

Emotions among parents and other family members can be significant as well. They can include shock, disbelief, shame, blame and fear of further harm. Parents might even be angry at the child depending on the circumstances. Siblings might be confused or become overprotective.

It is important that families get the support they need. If you are affected by a crime, even if not directly, you can access the support of Victim Services.

How can you support a child who has been a victim of a crime?

Parents and caregivers can be a great source of support to their child after a crime.

  • Assure your child that he or she did the right thing in telling someone.
  • React calmly.
  • Let your child know that talking usually helps, and be there to listen.
  • Reassure your child that what happened is not his or her fault.
  • Accept that your child may “act out” but set limits.
  • Understand your own feelings and take care of yourself.
  • Discuss with your child any steps to take.
  • Watch for signs that your child needs additional support or help.

Obligation to report crimes

Everyone has a legal obligation to report situations where a child or young person (under 19) needs protection.

For example, if they are being abused, neglected or sexually exploited, this must be reported to Famiiy and Children Services. If children are part of a family with a domestic violence situation, Family and Children Services need to be informed.

Cybertip

To report online situations where children or young people are being sexually abused or exploited, contact the Cybertip.ca tip line. Canada’s national tip line receives information from the public about child pornography, luring, child sex tourism and child prostitution.

Cybertip also provides information, referrals and other resources to help Canadians keep their children safe while on the Internet.