When criminal charges are laid, young people are referred to our Child Witness Program, supporting victims and witnesses of crime in Waterloo Region, Guelph, and Wellington County. It can be scary and very stressful. Our services ensure that all young people have support during this difficult time. They are tailored to each person’s unique needs and include:
- Providing crisis intervention, safety planning and referrals.
- Providing emotional support and coping strategies to reduce stress and anxiety felt by our clients during the investigation and/or criminal court process. This includes the enhanced mental health supports provided by our Facility Dog Monet, who works hands-on with our young clients navigating the criminal court process. She provides a source of unconditional comfort and understanding to these young people.
- Accompanying them during important case-related meetings and at court dates.
- Helping parents and caregivers to be effective in supporting their children.
- Providing court updates and on-going assessment and advocacy throughout.
- Providing court preparation for a child or youth who is required to testify in court.
- Assessing the need for testimonial aids and advocating for testimonial aids to be permitted while testifying in court.
- Providing court accompaniment and supporting them, so they are not alone.
- Aiding with completing Victim Impact Statements, so they have the opportunity to share how the experience has impacted them.
- Providing post court debriefs so families understand the verdict and/or sentencing.
- Providing information and support that connects young people, and their families, with community resources.
- Offering a welcoming and safe place that fosters healing, hope and well-being.
“The Child Witness Centre helped by making sure all of my questions were answered and I knew what was going on 100% of the time. My Caseworker made sure I was prepared for the court dates and stayed with me when I had to testify and it made it a little less scary.”
A ClientChild Witness Program
Our services are accessible and provided free of charge. If you know of someone who could benefit from this support, please call our office at 519-744-0904. More information can also be found in our program brochure.
We invite you to watch this video to learn about a mom and her daughter and their journey through the criminal court process with the support of Caseworkers from the Child Witness Program.
“Thank-you so very much…I truly believe that [the support provided by the Child Witness Program] could be the difference between life and death for some young people who have already gone through so much.”