Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer # 789
Victim witnessesRegion: Ontario Answer # 789
Victims of crime are often required to be witnesses and to testify in court against an offender. Because this is a difficult and confusing experience, the Ontario government has established the Victim/Witness Assistance Program to help guide victim witnesses through the court process. The Program provides information, assistance and support to victims and witnesses of crime so that they can better participate in the Criminal Court process.
Services are provided to victims and witnesses of violent crime, such as: domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, homicide and hate crime; and are also available to: victims with special needs; families of victims of homicide; and families of victims of traffic fatalities. Services are available after the police have laid charges, and continue until the court case is over.
The Victim/Witness Assistance Program offers a number of services, including:
- Help finding community resources
- Providing emotional support
- Helping address safety concerns
- Giving information about the court system and procedures
- Helping prepare for court
- Assistance in preparing a victim impact statement
- Arranging for language interpreters
- Referrals to community agencies
How to get help
After charges have been laid, victims and witnesses are referred to the Victim/Witness Assistance Program by the police or the Crown Attorney.
However, if you are a victim of violent crime, you can also contact the program yourself or have someone in the community call on your behalf.
For more information, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General, Victim Services, or Going To Court as a Victim website. You can also call the Ontario Victim Support Line at 416-314-2447 or toll-free 1-888-579-2888. The program is available in Ontario in all court districts.
If you have been charged with a crime and need a criminal defence lawyer, contact our preferred criminal defence expert, Calvin Barry Criminal Lawyers.
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