Our Collaborative Approach

Traditionally, when a child needed to report abuse, they were forced to do so in the same manner as an adult; in an institutionalized setting with adult expectations.

  • The child was expected to go to the police station, surrounded by sometimes scary strangers in the waiting area, then shuffled through the interview process expected to tell their stories a number of times to various players involved in the investigation. One could only imagine this intimidating endeavor for a child who finally mustered the courage to disclose.
  • Knowing how difficult this process can be, several community agencies partnered together to establish a more streamlined and child centered approach to investigations.
  • Now, children are able to utilize The Bison Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, which uses a multidisciplinary team. This collaborative approach strives to minimize stress, anxiety, and trauma to the child witness while working to promote safety, protection, and justice.

our Mission Statement

To provide support to children and youth who have experienced all types of abuse and their non-offending caregivers in Northwest Alberta

Our Values

  • Child and youth friendly, and a place of healing
  • Community based – community central, but also connected to systems
  • Respect and understanding
  • Cultural safety – humility and seeking to understand
  • Trust – instilling trust with children, youth, and families and with each other
  • Relationships and collaboration – at the centre of everything we do, with child, youth, and family, but also with professionals
  • Reducing secondary trauma – the system should not retraumatize the victim
  • Accessible – regardless of distance or location
  • Seamless coordination and communication – between partners


What is provided at the Bison Centre

The Bison Child & Youth Advocacy Centre houses a child welcoming venue for RCMP and Children Services to conduct interviews of alleged crimes of abuse against children. It also provides:

  • Audio video recording of the interviews to be used in court proceedings
  • Crisis intervention, and support to child victims of crime and non–offending family members
  • Supervision of the children in child friendly waiting areas
  • Ongoing support to the non-offending family members
  • Court preparation, accompaniment and support throughout the court process
  • Advocacy and referrals on behalf of the child victims of abuse
  • Remote Testimony Support and Access

The Bison Centre offers a safe and comfortable environment for children to go through the investigative process. We help to simplify this process and decrease some of the stress associated with reports of child abuse. We advocate for the child within the criminal justice system and help find supports within our community. We believe in trying to attain “best practice” standards while being child centered, with our focus on helping children and families move forward in the most advantageous way.

Why the Centre was named Bison

We choose the Bison for a number of reasons. Our area is well known for the Bison that are frequently seen between Rainbow Lake, Chateh and High Level. While travelling East on Highway 58, and when travelling North on highway 35, you might see Bison between Meander River, Zama and on your way to the Northwest Territories.  Wood Buffalo National Park is also located within our geographical area, and neighbours to many small communities. The Bison is a respected animal by all cultures in our area.

The Bison Represents Respect

The Bison gives every part of its being to sustain the human way of living, not because it is of less value, but because it respects the balance and needs of others.

Bison, when approached by predators without warning, will form a multilayer circle of protection. The females form a ring around the young, and the males form an outer ring surrounding the females, protecting their herd.

Why the Centre was named Bison
Bison Centre icon

The Artist logo rationale: The Bison represents the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre because of its strength and power. It is designed to:

  • Resemble Indigenous Collage art
  • Uplift the spirit with its bright, cheerful colors
  • Reflect the Bison standing on top of the world, symbolizing confidence and opportunity
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