Before the Trial

Shortly before a survivor testifies in court, she can come in to meet with a HELP Justice Services counsellor.  The counsellor will talk to her about what preparation she might find most helpful. This can include showing a video of the court process, explaining what to expect in court, planning ways to better cope with testifying and addressing any specific concerns a survivor might have. The counsellor can also be there as an emotional support when watching the video statement, if one has been recorded during the police interview.

The HELP Justice Services counsellor can work with you to understand how best to prepare yourself to give evidence in court. Working out a strategy to help you stay calm and focused while giving evidence is helpful. Other things it’s good to know: if you need to take a break at any time, let the Judge know; it is important that you clearly understand the questions so do not rush to answer them; and ask the Judge to clarify any confusing questions.

 

People involved in the trial that you will meet beforehand:

 

Officer in Charge: You should know the officer in charge quite well by the time you get to the trial date. It is important that you feel free to call them if you have any questions.  Reviewing your statement with the officer in charge is an important part of your preparation.  The HELP Justice Services counsellor can be present at this meeting to help support you through the process.

 

Prosecuting Lawyer: You can meet with the prosecuting lawyer before the trial so that they can answer any questions and help you get ready to be a witness.  Having the HELP Justice Services counsellor present at these meetings can also be helpful to emotionally support you through this process.

 

Court Victim Advisor: The victim advisor will make contact with you to give you information about the court date. They are a valuable resource for you to have someone in the court that you know and feel comfortable with. They will arrange with the officer in charge and yourself to look around the court before the trial, provide court education and answer any further questions you may have about the proceedings on the day.

 

Find out what happens during the trial.