Justice Canada 2019 Excellence in Victim Service Award
It is our pleasure to announce that Ms. Karyn Kennedy, President and CEO at Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (Boost CYAC) in Toronto, is the recipient of the Justice Canada 2019 Excellence in Victim Service Award.
The Justice Canada Excellence in Victim Service Award is a way for the Government of Canada to recognize an individual who has empowered victims and survivors of crime, inspired service providers, and achieved meaningful change that has improved the experiences of Canadians who have been touched by crime.
In accordance with the public nomination process for the award, the National Organizing Committee for Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2019 reviewed the nominee applications. The award was presented by Jocelyn Sigouin, Acting Director of the Policy Centre for Victim Issues, to Ms. Kennedy, at the Victims and Survivors of Crime Week federal symposium on May 27, 2019, in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Ms. Kennedy exemplifies the criteria that this award was designed to recognize: she has empowered countless young victims of crime through her advocacy work over the past 30 years, both at the Boost CYAC and previously as a trained Art Therapist working with young victims in schools; she has inspired other service providers across Canada through her leadership and development of the CYAC model; and she has achieved meaningful change that has improved the experiences of young victims of crime in the criminal justice system, such as by promoting excellence in child abuse investigations, child trauma therapy, caregiver support, and court preparation and accompaniment for young witnesses.
The Boost CYAC is a multi-service agency with a mandate to provide a community response to victims of child abuse and family violence in one central, child-friendly location, focusing on each individual child and their well-being. In 2019, Ms. Kennedy led the city-wide expansion of the Boost CYAC to cover all 17 Toronto Police Divisions so that every child involved in an abuse investigation in Toronto would receive this crucial, individualized support to help them heal and thrive in an environment free from abuse or violence. Ms. Kennedy oversees all aspects of the centre, including 95 centre/community partner staff, as well as the development and implementation of innovative programs and services for each child and their family.
Ms. Kennedy lives in Port Hope, Ontario, with her husband of 30 years and has an adult son. She is the eldest of five children, three of whom work in social services. She shares her home with Boost CYAC’s Accredited Facility Dog, a four-year-old black lab named Iggy, and a six-month old golden retriever named Mookie. Ms. Kennedy and her husband have been foster parents in the past, and she has served for many years on the board of both the Northumberland Children’s Aid Society and Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society, as well as the Greenwood Coalition, a community-based organization in Port Hope for the homeless, where she was the Chair.
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