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The Journey to Justice

The Journey to Justice

A Guide to Thinking, Talking and Working as a Team for Young Victims of Crime in Canada's North

Alison Cunningham (2009)
This 90-page guide is a follow-up to the "Full and Candid Account" series from 2007. It takes the principles of helping children and teenagers testify in court and adapts them for use in Canada's three territories: Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Taking into account contextual features of northern justice -- including circuit-court parties travelling to far-flung and isolated communities -- the material is designed for judges, justices of the peace, prosecutors, police, witness coordinators, victim service workers, shelter staff and educators. Concrete ideas for victim support are offered. Sections also address the needs of witnesses with diagnosed or suspected fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Funding from the Department of Justice in Ottawa is gratefully acknowledged.

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The Journey to Justice: A Guide to Thinking, Talking and Working as a Team for Young Victims of Crime in Canada's North

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • INTRODUCTION
    • Introduction to this guide
    • Who, what, where, when and why?
    • Young victims: Who, what, where, when, why?
    • The Journey: Where are we going?
    • The integral role of community

  • PART 1: CHARTING THE COURSE
    • Assumptions made here about working together
    • Who's on the "team"?
    • Legal words you might see or hear
    • Our team
    • "Crime" or "abuse" or both or neither?
    • Working as a team

  • PART 2: THE MESSAGES OF REACTIONS TO CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN
    • Assumptions made here about crimes against children
    • The messages of abuse
    • Why young victims may stay silent
    • Potential messages of reactions to the discovery of a crime

  • PART 3: SEEING A TREE INSTEAD OF THE FOREST
    • Assumptions made here about understanding children's needs
    • Seeing the strengths and challenges of children (and around children)
    • Coping methods you might see

  • PART 4: SENDING THE GOOD MESSAGES
    • Assumptions made here about helping young victims
    • Legal words you might see or hear
    • Principles for helping after charges are laid
      • Informing and empowering caregivers helps children
      • Compared to adults, a child may need more of your time
      • Anxiety goes down when knowing what to expect
      • Some worries are not real and can be corrected
      • Witnesses may bring their coping strategies into court
      • Cross-examination is the most difficult part of testifying
      • Some witnesses will not be able to give evidence in court
    • "My Court Calendar"
    • "My Court Case File"
    • FASD and implications for helping witnesses

  • PART 5: A DATE TO MEET THE JUDGE
    • Assumptions made here about helping children and teens testify
    • Legal words you might see or hear
    • Strategies to consider for testimony day
      • Build a support team for the day
      • Protect a waiting witness from distractions and stressors
      • Have someone stay with the witness during the wait
      • Focus on the "job" of a witness
      • Shield a witness from distractions and stressors while testifying
      • Choose words thoughtfully
      • Find an opportunity for debriefing
    • Questioning children
    • Asking concrete questions

  • PART 6: HELPING CHILDREN THRIVE
    • Assumptions made here about helping abused children thrive
    • Legal words you might see or hear
    • Strategies of support

  • PART 7: TRAVELLING FORWARD AS A TEAM
    • Assumptions made here about talking together
    • Guidelines for community conversations
    • Keeping on a good path
    • Circle model for difficult conversations
    • Conversations for Territorial Judges

  • Full citations of references mentioned

  • Some useful web sites

  • Additional resources

En Français

Disponible aussi en francais: Cheminer vers la justice : Une guide pour penser, parler et travailler comme une équipe en faveur des jeunes victimes d'actes criminels dans le Grand Nord canadien.


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