Victim and Witness Court Support
Our volunteers are educated to assist victims of, or witnesses to, a crime who are involved in court proceedings. Volunteer advocates meet with those individuals requiring guidance prior to the court date to help them through that sometimes intimidating experience. The goal is to help alleviate fears they may have and to familiarize our clients with the legal process.
Advocates may, if requested, attend Court with the victim or witness as moral support or to further assist them in understanding the proceedings. These Advocates also liaise with Crown Prosecutors and Court personnel, in order to keep victims informed and to maintain communications in a secure environment.
Court Support Services
One of our mandates as a Victim Services Unit is to provide Court Support for Victims of Crime. Court support has several components, including:
If you are a victim, our Victim Services office will provide you with Court Outcome Updates from the Court Appearance(s) the accused has attended. Unless there is a Preliminary Trial, it is not necessary for the victim to attend court until the date and time the victim is required to appear as a witness. It is important that you know what has been happening at the court appearances the accused has to attend. Victim Services can keep track of those appearances and advise you about what has occurred, when the next court date is and when and if a trial will take place.
Victims who are scheduled to appear in court may have the opportunity to meet at the Lacombe Police Service within the month prior to their court appearance. Orientation consists of the following:
- Red Deer Courthouse: an optional tour of the court house and of a court room (usually takes approx 30 minutes.)
- Lacombe Police Service: watch a Witness Preparation video and have a Q&A period (usually takes up to an hour, including Q&A period).
Victims/Witnesses are encouraged to read their written statement and/or view their video statement about one week before the trial start date. This is to refresh the victim's memory. However, the LPS members must give permission first and supply the documents and/or video statement.
This includes the following:
- VSU provides a support person who accompanies the witness (victim) to court.
- The support person will sit with the witness while they wait to testify.
- The support person will also sit in the court room while the witness testifies*.
Due to the nature of some evidence, it is not always in the victim's best interest to have family in the court room while testifying. To ensure victims are not alone during this process, Lacombe Victim Services feels it is important to make a support person available.