Gasoline Alley in Red Deer County was the location of some hockey talk for a good cause on Wednesday afternoon.
The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) hosted a luncheon that included a panel discussion featuring Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, executives Peter Chiarelli and Bob Nicholson, and Red Deer Rebels GM and head coach Brent Sutter.
It was just last month that the Oilers and Calgary Flames teamed up for a golf tournament benefiting CACAC.
“They have been absolutely fantastic. Both organizations have sent players in, personnel, people behind the scenes to help us try to bring to the forefront that it’s O.K. to talk about abuse, by lending their name and lending the support of their organizations,” said Mark Jones, CEO of the CACAC.
The CACAC is a non-profit that serves children, youth and families affected by abuse. Some of the professionals who work there include police, health care workers, psychologists, social workers and crown prosecutors.
Jones said those partnerships are crucial during intervention but also for creating programs aimed at preventing abuse.
“We can have individuals trained to recognize signs of abuse but not only that, what to do when they recognize that abuse has taken place,” he said.
Another one of CACAC’s partnerships is with Red Deer College. That is where the organization’s permanent home will be located, with ground breaking expected next year, Jones said.
On Wednesday, an announcement from Innisfail RCMP that they had charged a 43-year-old Red Deer County man with sexual interference involving three children under 10 years old, was a stark reminder of the need for CACAC’s work.
Jones said that they have conducted 196 forensic interviews this year.