New Project: Supporting Vulnerable Victims & Witnesses
May 16, 2022
BY Alison Wilkinson
May 15th to 21st is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week in Canada. This is a time to support, acknowledge, and honor those who have had crimes committed against them.
The Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) is excited to announce a new project to support this population, which has been generously funded by the BC Council to Reduce Elder Abuse. The Supporting Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses project aims to create a model policy framework for Crown counsel and other professionals working with victims of crime and witnesses who have capability issues.
In the 2009 report entitled Provincial Strategy Document: Vulnerability and Capability Issues in British Columbia, the CCEL found a policy gap in supporting vulnerable adults with capacity issues in the criminal justice setting. The 2021 update of this report noted little progress in this area.
The current Crown policy on Elder Abuse and Offences Against Elders is only two pages in length. The policy on Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses does not address capability or capacity. Strong policies are necessary to support Crown Counsel in prosecuting cases- but also to support victims of such crimes. It is important that policies also inform police, lawyers, and victim service workers in working with vulnerable adults who may have capability issues. Consistent response throughout the province is important.
This work aims to support these individuals and organizations in creating policy change by providing a model and best practices.
How can you help?
Part of this work is consultation interviews with key informants and stakeholders. CCEL is seeking participants to interview for this project, including those working as Crown counsel, RCMP members, victim services staff, and support workers for vulnerable adults. The information obtained from these interviews will inform the policy framework. If you are interested in participating, contact Alison Wilkinson at [email protected].
For more information on the Supporting Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses project, please see our project page.