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Child & Adolescent (Under 18)

Contrary to popular belief, sexual abuse of children and teens is not rare and can happen regardless of income level, ethnic heritage, gender, ability, sexual orientation, culture or religion. It can happen to any family and occurs more than we would like to think.

Fortunately, children and teens can recover from sexual abuse and assault with the support of family, friends and community. Children and youth are resilient and can heal.

The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton offers individual counselling for children and adolescents between the ages of 3 and 17. For children and adolescents to be seen for counselling, the sexual abuse or assault must have been reported to police or child welfare authorities. Charges or convictions are not necessary for the child or adolescent to be seen for counselling, but a report needs to be made. Reports can be made to the Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-387-5437), the Edmonton pPolice Service (780-423-4567) or RCMP, or to your local Alberta Children and Family Services office:

  • North Central/NW: 780-415-6012
  • Northeast: 780-422-2112
  • Central: 780-415-9619
  • East: 780-427-1551
  • West Central: 780-427-1551
  • Southeast: 780-422-4060
  • Southwest: 780-427-9040

According to the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, all Albertans are required by law to report if a child is at risk of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect to Child and Family Services. If a child discloses abuse to you, refrain from probing for details. This may compromise a possible investigation. Simply allow the child to tell his or her story, in their own words.

For concerns about a child's immediate safety, call the police (780-423-4567) or the Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-387-5437). For support, please call the 24-Hour Confidential Sexual Assault Crisis Line (780-423-4121).

After reporting the abuse or assault to Alberta Children and Family ServicesChild Welfare authorities and/or the police, the child's parent or guardian can call SACE (780-423-4102) and ask to speak to the Intake Counsellor for the Child and Adolescent program. Legal guardians must consent to counselling. If the child's guardians are currently in a custody dispute, our counsellors cannot provide testimony regarding the dispute.

The Intake Counsellor will discuss with the parent or guardian the history of the abuse or assault. Additional basic details regarding reporting are also explored. Once the intake is completed, an appointment is scheduled. Please note the waiting list for counselling varies.

Counselling focuses on improving coping strategies and processing issues related to sexual abuse or assault.

Children typically engage in play therapy using the Child and Adolescent Program's well-equipped playroom. Here, children express their feelings through play, using various therapeutic toys (sand tray, puppets, paints, clay, etc.). Play therapy provides a safe way for them to share their feelings and emotions about the sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse also impacts the family and friends of those who have survived it. After a child discloses, those around them may find themselves in crisis. We will support people affected by the abuse of children in their lives by providing information. As well, they may access the 24-hour Confidential Sexual Assault Crisis line (780-423-4121).