Type of services:
Program to prepare and support child and teen witnesses to help them communicate evidence to the court without being traumatized by the challenging process of being a witness.
Most services are delivered in the courthouse
Type of provider:
Registered Social Workers/Social Service Workers
Length of program/number of sessions:
Variable number of sessions depending upon the time until case resolution and individual needs; typically, from one to ten.
Type(s) of trauma addressed:
Any interpersonal criminal victimization in which a person under 18 years of age is a victim/complainant or witnessed a violent crime, including domestic violence, and is expected to testify. Cases typically involve child physical or sexual abuse, peer violence, teen dating violence, or witnessing domestic violence.
Referrals are received from police
The Child Witness Program, started in 1987, was the first of two such programs for child witnesses in Canada and has now served over 10,000 young people.
One of the recent advances has been the addition of the facility dog, National Service Dog (NSD) Yzer. NSD Yzer engages with the young witnesses and provides ongoing support throughout their involvement in the program. It is NSD Yzer’s innate ability to provide non-judgmental comfort and support that would make her arguably the most valuable and important member of the CWP.