News Release

Arming Little Warriors in battle against sexual abuse

May 27, 2024

Alberta’s government is providing $5 million to Little Warriors over the next three years to support the healing journey of children and youth who have survived sexual violence.

No child or youth should ever have to deal with the traumatizing and lifelong impacts of sexual violence. The reality is one in three Albertans have experienced sexual abuse while they were under the age of 18, including 44 per cent of girls and 24 per cent of boys. These experiences can result in a range of negative outcomes including aggression, depression, anxiety, self-harm, PTSD, and continue into adulthood in the form of addiction, mental illness, and suicidality.

Alberta’s government is proud to support Little Warriors by ensuring more children, youth, and families can access their trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment programs. Through this investment, young survivors will be able to address their mental, emotional, and physical well-being so they can heal and thrive.

“It’s troubling that any child experiences sexual abuse, but it should not define the rest of their lives. I’m so grateful for Little Warriors and their courageous efforts to help Alberta’s young survivors overcome their trauma and regain their self-esteem.” Searle Turton, Minister of Children and Family Services

Little Warriors’ Be Brave Ranch in the Sherwood Park area is the first and only treatment facility of its kind in the country. The facility offers a number of activities through a camp-like setting, including group and individual therapy, nature walks, physical activity, art, sensory and animal therapy, as well as daily mindful movement. When survivors first arrive, they get to choose a handmade quilt often adorned with notes of encouragement from the person who made them. Recent graduates of the program also write letters to new clients – a sentiment that children and youth came up with themselves. Other activities – like working on Warrior sticks – are designed to help survivors find their voice, feel heard and empowered.

“When children and youth first arrive at the Be Brave Ranch, their heads are down, but by the time they leave, they’re standing tall. The province’s investment will help Little Warriors continue to deliver real results for young survivors.” Jennifer Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Little Warriors

Little Warriors also offers education initiatives, including online programs to help children and youth learn about boundaries, consent, and self-care, as well as Prevent It! workshops aimed at helping adults prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. The organization typically spends $100,000 a year on research into the best supports for child and youth sexual abuse survivors and have published nine research papers to date. 

“Through our trauma-informed treatment, we are consistently seeing clinical improvements in PTSD, depression, anxiety, and functioning. We’re grateful this funding will allow us to serve more children and caregivers with evidence-informed treatment that changes life trajectories.” Dr. Wanda Polzin Holman, Clinical Director, Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government is providing an additional $10 million to sexual assault centres over three years, including $3 million in 2024-25.
  • Alberta also provides nearly $3.4 million every year to eight child advocacy centres, which support vulnerable children and youth who have experienced all forms of abuse, including sexual violence.

Related information

Related news

Media inquiries

Ashli Barrett

ashli.barrett@gov.ab.ca

587-545-8821

Press Secretary, Children and Family Services

View pictures and video here from the media conference at the Be Brave Ranch on May 27, 2024.

View the Global Edmonton coverage here.