It started with the early release from prison of one of the perpetrators in the Maple Leaf Gardens’ child sexual abuse scandal. Many surviving victims were traumatized, this time by “the system”. The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awarenes went public with its concerns that day, and the Public Safety Advocacy program was born.
The CCAA later completed a groundbreaking report titled, Martin’s Hope, named in memory of Martin Kruze, the first victim of the Gardens scandal to go public and courageously tell his story. Martin’s hope lives on in the report’s sixty (60) recommendations for legislative and policy change to the criminal justice system, gleaned from round-table discussions with over 150 front-line criminal justice system professionals, crime victims, clinicians and survivors.
CCAA President, CEO and Founder, Ellen Campbell along with past Director of Public Safety, John Muise, author of Martin’s Hope embraced Martin’s hope that “just one child might be saved” through communication with all levels of government, in testimony before government committees and by appearances in all forms of media as they communicated the issues.
Many original recommendations have been acted on, including a change in the age of protection from 14 to 16, significant victim compensation improvement and dangerous offender and community supervision order improvements to name but a few. In 2009 a major proposal to provincial legislators is the SafeHaven Law that will allow a parent in distress to give over custody of a child in the first 72 hrs of life to CAS, a hospital, church, police, fire department or other public safety organization without fear of reprisal or charges of abandonment. Ellen Campbell believes that this will go a long way to prevent the death of abandoned babies:
“Huggum’s Hope Memorial is one program that we would truly be happy to be able to do away with. Safe Haven is already law in every State in the U.S. of A. as well as many countries in Europe and has saved the lives of over 1,800 babies. We, in Canada are lagging in affecting this legislation. CCAA is determined to see the legislation become a reality here as well.”
The CCAA’s voice has been a significant one in the progress thus far and it will continue to be as we work to keep Martin’s Hope alive.
“If I can help one person, it will all be worth it.” Martin Kruze
October is Abuse Prevention month in Canada and each year in October, the CCAA hosts a dinner in honour of Martin Kruze and Public Safety Advocacy. Below is a sample photo of that event. For more photos see our Events page for Past Events.