The Gatehouse Child Abuse Investigation & Support Site

To participate in a community that builds strength, courage and hope in those touched by child abuse, and by so doing, to dare to imagine a world without child abuse. Vision: A future where those impacted by childhood sexual abuse can heal and reclaim their voices. Mission: To provide supports, resources and advocacy on behalf of those impacted by childhood sexual abuse. Objectives: The Gatehouse aims to: provide a range of formal and informal supports and outreach, mobilize community capacity, strengths and skills of volunteers, increase service capacity through collaboration and partnerships and facilitate creation and transfer of knowledge.

Our Impact Why We Exist

The Gatehouse is a unique community based center in Canada that provides supports, resources and advocacy on behalf of those impacted by childhood sexual abuse. It is the only community-based setting that provides services for children, youth and adults in one location. The Gatehouse offers adult peer support group programs. The Gatehouse is also a child friendly location where investigating police officers and child welfare personnel can interview children, youth and their families, during alleged child abuse investigations. The Gatehouse is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for investigations. It has been designated by police services as a best practice site for conducting investigations related to childhood sexual abuse. The Gatehouse started its operations on June 20, 1998 and since then the Gatehouse has helped thousands including children, youth and adults who have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

The vision of The Gatehouse® and the restoration of the house was the creation of one man. Arthur Raymond Lockhart inspired many people with his idea to reach out to survivors of child abuse within the community.  His vision is to give all survivors a place to tell their stories, to give them back their voices, to heal their wounds and to inspire them to see their own potential. The house is dedicated to this vision and the community.  Our work begins when a child needs the opportunity to tell their story.  We have created a welcoming ‘homey’ environment to welcome children, youth, their families, and their caregivers.  We have investigation rooms designed specifically for children who come tell their abuse story.  We have created a caring and friendly place where children feel welcome and comfortable, and where the fear that comes with their story goes away.Our first decade established our house as a safe place for children and adults to tell their story. Over the last few years, we spent considerable energy and resources sharing our world-class knowledge and programs in North America and around the world.  Close to home, we have built a strong presence providing much-needed programs to men and women who have suffered abuse during their childhood.  We continue to support this initiative because the need has never gone away – many adults simply need to wait until adulthood to deal with the traumas they experienced as children.  Our second decade is dedicated to children, youth and families. We feel that this is the ideal time for The Gatehouse to be delivering meaningful programs which could help them cope with the immediate emotional and family challenges they are facing, provide information and assistance to navigate ‘the system’, and give them a place to work on rebuilding while they wait for services.

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Volunteer Facilitators have been awarded the LAMP Community Service award in 2013 and 2015
  • Awarded three “Youth Philanthropy Initiative Canada” awards in 2010
  • Winner 2009 Stand Up For Kids Award
  • The Gatehouse® has gained a national voice on child abuse issues, providing a one-of-a-kind investigation and treatment environment.
  • We were named a “Best Practice” site for child abuse investigation by Toronto’s former Chief of Police. 
  • We have won multiple awards for community safety.
  • We developed a breakthrough system of support for adults who were hurt by child abuse and are leaders in our field for content and program development
  • Supported Phase 2 of the Cornwall Public Inquiry, focused on healing and reconciliation, including processes, services or programs for the future that could encourage community healing and reconciliation
  • Our investigation model was presented to the International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • The Federal Justice Department asked for our input regarding the impact of crimes on victims of abuse

Our Programs How We Do It

1)       The Gatehouse Investigation Support Program (GISP): Hosting our house to the Police Investigators and Child Welfare personnel to interview children/youth and their families during the investigation process

2)       Group Adult Support Network (GASN): Our group self support program designed to facilitate social re-connection, education and self-support to adults of child abuse 

3)       Strong Youth & Strong Family Programs: Support Programs to help youth and family build strong and productive lives in the aftermath of childhood abuse

The Gatehouse® Investigation Support Program (GISP)

Investigating child abuse is a critical and sensitive issue. The Gatehouse® Investigation Support Program (GISP) supports child abuse investigations by providing a child-friendly site where police officers and child welfare personnel can interview children and family members in an independently managed, comfortable and non-threatening environment. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the GISP is available to police, child welfare workers and abuse treatment professionals. There are no geographical boundaries. The site is equipped with a state-of-the-art video recording system and is fully staffed to support families, make referrals and consult with investigation teams.Funding and Program PartnersThe Gatehouse Investigation Support program does not receive core funding, but this program has been generously funded by Dion, Durell + Associates, the CIBC World Markets Children’s Miracle Foundation, Mattel Canada, and from individual donors.

Program Impact

magine the courage and strength that it takes for a child to disclose the trauma of being abused! The Gatehouse is a child friendly neutral environment where children and youth can tell their story to investigating officers and child welfare personnel in a home-like setting. Our teddy bear lined stairway and welcoming setting of being a house helps to ease this traumatic experience for anyone who comes through our purple door. Housing state-of-the-art recording equipment, we record the child’s story, reducing the number of times and different people that these young people have to recount their traumatic experience to.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“A sense of security and safety affects the quality of life in Toronto and our ability to enjoy life to its fullest. Personal safety determines how Torontonians socialize and participate in their neighbourhoods and city.” We fundamentally believe that every child has the right to a childhood free of the fear and doubt of abuse.  We want to get there by participating in a community which builds strength, courage and hope in those touched by child abuse.  We know that for many reasons, children are sometimes abused mentally, physically, and sexually.  As they grow up they carry with them the fear of their memories, which stops them from realizing their full potential as human beings.

Participant Vignette

This is a ‘letter of support’ from the Superintendent at 51 Division of the Toronto Police Services:“Since opening its doors in June 1998, The Gatehouse has had thousands of children, youth, adults and their family members through its doors, all of which who have had their lives affected by childhood abuse.  The Gatehouse is an invaluable community based organization.  It not only provides a safe and secure environment for children to disclose their abuse to police officers and social workers, but is also offers support services for adults whose lives have been affected by childhood abuse. Officers within the Toronto Police Service – 51 Division, Youth and Family Services Unit utilize The Gatehouse to ease the investigation process on children and their families. The benefit of having such a facility available is indescribable. The teddy bear lined stairway, child-friendly environment, homemade cookies all serve to make this traumatic experience just that much easier not only for the children my officers interview, but for their family members who attend with them.  Each child is given a teddy bear or a handmade blanket once they have finished their interview.  This experience is difficult enough for children and their families and anything that can help ease the stresses is extremely beneficial.  I truly believe in The Gatehouse and all that it offers to support in the aftermath of childhood abuse”.

The Gatehouse® Group Adult Support Program (GASN)

As an adult, it takes tremendous strength and resiliency to reach out to end the isolation and pain resulting from childhood abuse, especially if you are male.  In response to the great need of adult survivors of child abuse, we developed The Gatehouse® Adult Support Network (GASN), the only peer-support program we are aware of in the City of Toronto.  The goal of the program is to minimize the feeling of isolation through one-to-one mentoring or group self-support.  We believe strongly in the need for community support in the aftermath of child abuse, and our participants have validated this belief.  Our group self-support structure is designed to facilitate social-reconnection, education, and self support – key skills needed by adults who have been traumatized as children. We offer a fifteen week group session which is led by Gatehouse trained facilitator-volunteers, and supported with our expertise in child-abuse and its impacts.Funding and Program PartnersThe GASN program does not have core funding, and has been generously supported over the years by The Ontario Trillium Foundation, the City of Toronto, The Ontario Office for Victims of Crime, The Ministry of the Attorney General and a host of individual donors.

Program Impact

For many adults who have suffered childhood abuse, they have lived a life of isolation. Isolation is one of the effects of the post-traumatic stress many adults experience if they have been abused in their childhood. The Gatehouse is a safe place where everyone has a voice. Our programs give every participant the opportunity to meet with others who have gone through a similar experience and move out of isolation and into inclusion. To see our participants connect and rebuild their trust with others during the program is an amazing experience. We believe strongly in the need for community support in the aftermath of child abuse, and our programs have been built from this platform. Our group structure is designed to facilitate social-reconnection, education, and self-support.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"The more we feel connected to others, the more vibrant and resilient we are, individually and collectively.  Opportunities to contribute our unique talents including becoming community leaders are key to the vitality of our city.” In Canada, one in four children is abused by the time they are 18 years old.  We believe that many of the adults in our community have experienced abuse in their past, and that they can and will contribute to their community best if they have the skills to deal with the impact of their abuse.  The strength of a whole community works with us by volunteering their time to break the cycle of abuse. Our programs and volunteers help participants find their voice to tell their own story, and our community of partners helps us to reach the right people with the right services.  Together we know we are making a difference, and we know that there are many individuals and organizations in the city who we can work with to increase our impact.

Participant Vignette

A former client participating in our adult support program writing a letter to the volunteer facilitators telling them what group did for her: “Well, it’s been a long journey – not only these past 15 weeks we’ve spent together but our long histories that brought us here. Although I feel sad it’s come to an end, I take with me a sense of accomplishment in my personal quest for happiness and inner peace”. “I would like to thank The Gatehouse and especially to each and every one of you for dedicating yourselves to this process and making this journey worth my while. I thank you for you openness in sharing your personal experiences, your honesty in providing candid feedback and your encouragement in knowing that things will get better. I take with me cherished friendships and good memories. Here is a small token of our memory of this group experience”. “A butterfly symbolizes a transformation. As you know, butterflies start out as a cocoon and, when ready, spread their beautiful wings to fly. We may not all have our wings yet, but we are well on our way”.

Strong Youth & Strong Family Programs

We anticipate the ability to build programs to help youth get the help they need to live a productive life after being abused as children.  The programs will consist of information, peer support, and connections to resources in their community to build their confidence and to create a sense of belonging.  There is a growing sense in our network that youth would also benefit from an age-appropriate investigation room for them to tell their story, much like the Gatehouse has built for children, and that they would benefit from a set of programs that meet the needs of the young adult.  

Funding and Program Partners

We have started a support group process for youth ages 18-24, survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We have also started a drop in program.

Program Impact

The impact of these programs would be to help tomorrow’s adults build positive and confident skills today to live full and productive lives. Our family programs would help families work together to support a traumatized child, and to create a nurturing environment for all family members to understand their own emotions about child abuse.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

“A sense of security and safety affects the quality of life in Toronto and our ability to enjoy life to its fullest.  Personal safety determines how Torontonians socialize and participate in their neighbourhoods and city.”Youth are our leaders of tomorrow.  We recognize that in Canada, our demographic profile is of an aging population which needs its youth to run businesses, governments, education, and financial institutions.  The ability to help so many youth survive child abuse and go on to be strong and active participants in society is a goal that will serve us all in the future.  In particular, working with youth can drive youth to explore options other than gangs and violent or self-destructive behaviours to cope with the range of emotions they experience from childhood abuse.  By hearing the child, we support the adult of tomorrow.Families have many events which impact how members relate to each other.  An incident of child abuse can have profound effects on people and how they build their own relationships as children, parents, and adults.  We see a healthy family as the goal of the work we would do in these programs.  Healthy families make healthy communities – a cornerstone of The Gatehouse.

What You Can Do

The Gatehouse® Investigation Support Program (GISP)

Activities a donation will support

Your donation would allow us to develop a comprehensive information and resource package for families to help them ‘navigate the system’ in looking for support services within their community.  Most families that come to The Gatehouse are in complete shock and disbelief about what is happening to their family. This package would help ease any undue stress while providing useful information for them to take away and access when they are ready.  As we build our future vision, your donation will help in building programs, information, and resources for families in our child-friendly waiting space for their investigative interview to take place, or charting their path forward after their interview.

Donation impact

Grants to this program

  • Will enable us to build support programs for children, youth, and families who come through our doors of the investigation process
  • Provide resources to help children, youth and families when we are not physically available and when they are in immediate need

The Gatehouse® Group Adult Support Program (GASN)

Activities a donation will support

Your donation would allow for the updating of our knowledge base and training manuals to maintain our status as experts on childhood sexual abuse, and to specifically focus this program on leading practices which address adults who have experiences this abuse. Additionally, your donation will allow for more training of facilitators of these group sessions enabling to offer more groups for the people who need us the most. The Gatehouse program for males is the only one of its kind in Toronto, and the demand for our services is continually increasing. For many adults, this is the first place that they have had the opportunity to talk about what they have experienced in a safe setting where they are respected and listened to.

Donation impact

Grants to this program:

  • Will enable us to refine our expertise with global current best or leading practices
  • Nurture our adult program participants
  • Allow us to grow the program to help meet the increasing demands  

Strong Youth & Strong Family Programs

Activities a donation will support

A grant would provide:

  • Resource development for families
  • Family drop-in programming
  • Youth-specific program development

Donation impact

We know that children are supported by their friends and their families, sometimes in that order. The Gatehouse has developed programs and services for children, and now want to explore a broader spectrum to make sure that for friends and families have the best possible resources to support an abused child, and to make sure that a young person who has been abused can get the assistance they need to make sense of their life now.

Contact

Brad Hutchinson
Executive Director
416.255.5900 x225
Charitable Number: 869730648RR0001

Finance & Governance

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