Court Support Services
One of our mandates as a Victim Services Unit is to provide Court Support for Victims of Crime. Court support has several components, including:
If you are a victim, our Victim Services office will provide you with Court Outcome Updates from the Court Appearance(s) the accused has attended. Unless there is a Preliminary Trial, it is not necessary for the victim to attend court until the date and time the victim is required to appear as a witness. It is important that you know what has been happening at the court appearances the accused has to attend. Victim Services can keep track of those appearances and advise you about what has occurred, when the next court date is and when and if a trial will take place.
Victims who are scheduled to appear at the Grande Prairie Courthouse will be contacted approximately one month prior to their court appearance. Orientation consists of the following:
- Grande Prairie Courthouse: a tour of the court house and of a court room (usually takes approx 30 mins)
- Q&A Period: gives the opportunity for victims to ask questions and talk about whatever fears and misconceptions they may have, (Court is not like on TV).
Victims and witnesses are encouraged to read their written statement and/or view their video statement about one week before the trial start date. This is to refresh the victim's memory. However, an RCMP member must give permission first and supply the documents and/or videos.
This includes the following:
- VSU provides a support person who accompanies the witness (victim) to court.
- The support person will sit with the witness while they wait to testify.
- The support person will also sit in the court room while the witness testifies.
- Due to the nature of some evidence, it is not always in the victim's best interest to have family in the court room while testifying. To ensure victims are not alone during this process, Grande Prairie and District Victim Services feels it is important to make a support person available.