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You Are Not Alone: Tips for Teen Victims

Being the teen victim of a crime can be stressful. There are services available for young people who have been a victim. If you have questions or concerns about your role as a victim in the criminal justice system, the Department of Public Safety, Victim Services can help. They can explain the criminal justice process and offer support to help you cope with the impact of being a victim.

You Are Not Alone – Being supported through difficult times is a video which explains the services available to young people who have been the victim of a crime. It includes tips for reporting a crime to the police, preparing for court and getting support to deal with the trauma of being a victim. This pamphlet contains an overview of the tips and information in the video. Visit the website www.gnb.ca/publicsafety or contact a Victim Services Coordinator in your area to view the video.

 Reporting Crime

  • Consider talking to your parents. Even if you feel embarrassed or responsible for what has happened, you should talk to your parents or another adult you trust. Family and friends can play an important role in helping you find answers and deal with the impact of the crime.
  • Contact the police as soon as possible. The information you provide may be very important to the police and may help prevent others from becoming victims of crime.
  • You can have a parent or other adult with you for support while you are talking to the police. Some police departments have staff members who are trained to provide support to victims who are reporting a crime.
  • The police will ask you a lot of questions to help them determine who is responsible. They must have enough proof to accuse the person of a crime. This does not mean they think you are lying or do not believe you have been a victim.
  • It is possible that no one will be charged with the crime. The police may not be able to identify the person who committed the crime or there may not be enough evidence to prove someone is responsible for the crime.
  • Even if you change your mind about testifying in court, it is not always possible to drop the charges once someone has been accused of a crime.
  • If you are worried about your safety, talk to the police. Tell the police right away if you are threatened because you reported a crime. There are ways they can help keep you safe.

Being Supported

Being supported through the criminal justice process is important. You may be dealing with many different emotions, and will have questions about your case and the court process. Family and friends can be supportive, but they may not have the training to help you deal with the trauma of being a victim or to answer your questions about going to court. The Department of Public Safety, Victim Services provides assistance to people who have been a victim of a crime and have reported the crime to the police.

Victim Services can help you deal with the stress of going to court in many ways. Your Victim Services Coordinator can:

  • Explain the court process, who will be in the courtroom and your role as a victim.
  • Provide information on the status of the case.
  • Provide trained staff or volunteers to be with you during the trial.
  • Explain why the court found the accused person guilty or not guilty.
  • Provide information on Victim Impact Statements and how they may be presented at a sentencing hearing.
  • Arrange counselling and other services.

Counselling is available if you are having a difficult time dealing with the crime or if you are concerned about speaking in the courtroom. Your Victim Services Coordinator can make arrange¬ments for you to meet with a counsellor to help you cope with the impact of the trial and the crime.

Preparing for Court

  • Be prepared for delays. It can often take a long time for a case to go to court.
  • Before the trial you may meet with the lawyer who will tell the Judge why the person accused of the crime should be found guilty. This lawyer is called the Crown Prosecutor. The Crown Prosecutor will review with you the statement you gave to the police when you reported the crime and talk to you about the type of questions you may be asked in court.
  • Do not practice or memorize what you will say in court. You cannot know for certain what questions you will be asked.
  • Talk to the Crown Prosecutor or the Victim Services Coordinator if you are afraid or uncomfortable talking about what happened to you, or having to face the accused person in the court room. There are ways to make it easier for you to testify in court.

Going to Court

Your Victim Services Coordinator can explain what happens in court and how to act in the courtroom. Knowing what to expect can make it easier. Here are some tips:

  • Stand up when the Judge comes into the courtroom; everyone must stand until the Judge sits down.
  • Stand up when you are addressing the Court, or when the Judge is talking to you.
  • Be polite and respectful. In Provincial Court call the Judge “Your Honour”. In the Court of Queen’s Bench, call the Judge “Madam Justice” or “Mr. Justice”.
  • Dress appropriately; court is a serious occasion. Do not wear a hat in the courtroom.
  • Speak clearly, and only when it is your turn to talk.
  • Do not bring food, drinks or gum into the courtroom.
  • Turn off your cell phone and music player when you go into the courtroom.

 In some situations, such as sexual assault cases, it can be difficult to talk about what happened with your parents in the courtroom. If you think you will be uncomfortable, talk to your parents about having them step outside the courtroom while you testify. Your parents can be supportive without being in the room. It is possible to have a Victim Services Coordinator, trained volunteer, friend or family member sit beside you while you tell the court what happened, if it will make it easier for you to testify. Victim Services will explain what options are available to you and the use of testimonial aids.

Ongoing Support from Victim Services

Once the trial is over, Victim Services will set up a meeting with you and your parents to talk about what happened in the courtroom and to explain the reasons for the court’s decision. Your Victim Services Coordinator can also arrange for you to meet with the Crown Prosecutor if you have more questions.

When an accused person is found guilty, a date is set for a ‘sentencing hearing’. At the sentencing hearing you and other victims of the crime will have the opportunity to give the Judge information about how the crime has affected you. You can choose to write a Victim Impact Statement. Your Victim Services Coordina¬tor will assist you with the forms and explain what information the Judge will consider when making a sentencing decision.

At the sentencing hearing you can read your statement out loud in the courtroom if you want to. The Judge will consider what you have written even if you do not wish to read it. The Judge will consider how the crime affected you as well as other factors when deciding on a sentence for the guilty person.

Registering for Ongoing Victim Notification

If the offender was sentenced to custody in a prison or a youth centre, you or your parents may want to know when decisions are being made about the person’s release from custody. Your parents must register to receive this information. Talk to Victim Services about how to register to get information on the person’s release.

For More Information

There are many publications and resources for victims of crime available from the Department of Public Safety, Victim Services and Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick.

How Can I Contact Victim Services In My Area?
Call your local Victim Services Office for free resources or to set up an appointment:
       
Bathurst  547-2924 Richibucto   523-7150
Moncton 856-2875 Campbellton 789-2388
Miramichi 627-4065 Bouctouche 743-7493
Fredericton 453-2768 Perth-Andover 473-7706
Tracadie-Sheila 394-3690 Burton 357-4035
Grand Falls 473-7706 Woodstock  325-4422
Elsipogtog  523-4723 Edmundston 735-2543
St. Stephen  466-7414 Shediac 533-9100
Saint John 658-3742    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by:

Public Safety
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H1
www.gnb.ca/publicsafety

and

Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H1
Tel: 506-453-5369
Fax: 506-462-5193
Email: pleisnb@web.ca
www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca

ISBN: 978-1-55471-735-4

 

 

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Disclaimer: Please note that our website contains general information about the law. This is not a complete statement of the law on particular topics. We try to update our publications often, but laws change frequently so it is important for you to check to make sure the information is up to date.  The information in our publications is not a substitute for legal advice. To receive legal advice about your specific situation, you need to speak to a lawyer.