Court Support Has Three Phases
A Victim Advocate may assist a victim/witness who appears in court. This court support may have up to three phases:
1. Court orientation - Helping the victim/witness get ready for the experience of appearing in court. Court orientation is intended to assist a victim/witness to:
Understand the court environment and court process.
Cope with the stressors of the situation.
Victim Advocates court orientation is about the court environment and court process. The Victim Advocates’ court orientation process involves assessing and addressing the needs of the victim/witness with respect to information, safety, and support. The court orientation provided by a Victim Advocate does not involve discussion of testimony. In fact, the Victim Advocate must not discuss the victim witness’s evidence. Crown prosecutor preparation with a victim/witness is about the evidence to be presented.
2. Court accompaniment – Victim Advocates may assist victims by accompanying them to court. The victim may want to be in court to observe the proceedings or a victim may be required to be in court as a witness.
Victim Advocates may also assist victims after a trial and after sentencing, in cases where the victim needs to interact with the Correctional system regarding the status or location of the convicted offender.
3. Court follow-up – Victim Advocates ensure the victim/ witness has follow-up information and assistance as appropriate.They can assist the victim/witness to convey concerns to appropriate people in the court or criminal justice system, or refer the victim to other community resources.
Depending on the wishes of the victim/ witness, a Victim Advocate may be involved in any or all of these phases of court support.