Supporting Vulnerable Victims and Witnesses

Crown Counsel are the lawyers who prosecute criminal offences on behalf of society. In this role, Crown Counsel make decisions about if and how to proceed in criminal cases of elder abuse and abuse of vulnerable adults. When prosecution is the best solution, it is not always pursued due to knowledge and policy gaps to support the meaningful participation of adults with capability issues in the criminal justice system.

Strong policies are necessary to support Crown Counsel in prosecuting cases involving elder abuse- but also to support victims of such crimes. It is important that policies also inform police, court and victim service workers in dealing with this population. Consistent response throughout the province is important.

CCEL will conduct a one-year research project to develop a policy framework for working with victims of crime and witnesses who have capability issues which will:

  • support the practice of Crown Counsel in BC, and
  • promote inter-agency cooperation and collaboration of Crown, police, victims services, and others when prosecution of a criminal offence involving an adult with capability issues is indicated.

CCEL will publish a study paper in 2023 that will:

  • Provide comparative research on Crown prosecution policies related to elder abuse, dementia, and adults with capability issues;
  • Recommend policy language to support BC and federal Crown in developing policies to support best practices in BC.

Participants needed:

CCEL is seeking participants to interview for 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 Megan Vis-Dunbar at [email protected]