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Construction on the long-anticipated Candace House is officially underway.

It's been a project many years in the making, becoming an idea after the murder of Wilma Derksen's 13-year-old daughter Candace. The idea became Candace House, which secured a location last spring.

"We have been waiting for a long time to find the perfect place because it is not just about programs with Candace House, which we will also be doing. It is also about a place," Derksen said. "It needed to be very close to the law courts building."

candace house 2Candace House is located just off Kennedy and will become a refuge for victims and their families.The location, 183 Kennedy, is just one and a half blocks away from the law courts, which Derksen said is "perfectly positioned."

Candace House is a safe place, Derksen explained. It's designed for victims to get away from the law courts, which are offender focused, and come to a victim-focused place. The perfect mix of a personal and professional feel will give victims a chance to rest, gather, or meet with their lawyers away from the hard concrete of the law courts.

"I think probably most understandable is that it is going to be an off-site refuge place for victims who are going through the process in the justice system," Derksen said.

Between her daughter's murder and the trail many years later, Derksen said she saw family after family break down when they entered the court system. Derksen made a special point of moving off-site during the trails, which she believes helped her immensely.

Candace House will be the first centre of it's kind in America, according to Derksen. Renovations are expected to take 14 weeks.

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