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Victim support fund launched in wake of alleged crimes involving Lethbridge baby

The emergency entrance at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary. (Getty Images) The emergency entrance at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary. (Getty Images)

Advocacy groups who were horrified by the news of a brutal assault on a baby girl in Lethbridge say they have created a fund to help out, enlisting support from an organization that helps hundreds of young victims each year.

On Jan. 18, police were called to a home in Lethbridge's north-end for reports a six-week-old baby was being abused.

The child, referred to as Baby YQL, was found and taken to hospital with "extensive injuries," where she remains.

The 52-year-old father faces several charges including sexual assault, sexual interference and failing to provide the necessaries of life. Her mother, 31, is charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life.

Lights For Hope, a support organization for child victims of sexual abuse, established the campaign in partnership with the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre in response to the story.

Founders of the group say they felt they needed to anything they could to help the girl, as well as other young victims.

"We needed to support this little girl," co-founder Angela Piche told CTV News.

Kathleen Lacombe, another one of the creators of the fund, says its name is particularly poignant.

"This fund allows a light of hope to be lit for our Lethbridge baby who is in Calgary trying to recover," she said.

"It lights hope for all children who go through this here in our community."

Officials at the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre say they were honoured to be included in the campaign.

"Our child advocacy program specifically receives referrals directly from police or child services for children that are 17 years of age and under, specific to sexual abuse or just the most extreme experiences of abuse or neglect," said manager Cheryl Patterson.

Whenever a survivor is referred to them, Patterson says staff will create "wrap around supports" for the children and their families.

In the case of Baby YQL, the Lights For Hope fund will help pay for emergent needs like diapers, wipes and clothing as well as comfort care items such as stuffed animals and blankets.

Patterson says "collaborative approaches" like the legacy fund produces better results for survivors.

"(There is) the potential for a bright future for those children who have experienced abuse," she said.

According to the centre's data, there have been more than 200 reported cases of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and extreme neglect in and around Lethbridge over the past year.

Baby YQL's mother is expected in Lethbridge provincial court Friday, while the father has a bail hearing on Feb. 24.

More information on the Chinook Sexual Assault Centre and its services can be found online.

(With files from Kaella Doty) Top Stories

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