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Protection

Victims of crime may be afraid and fear of retaliation. You might want help to feel safe. To protect you, certain measures are made available to you or can be taken by different actors in the criminal justice system. For more information, see the sections below:

 

However, specific rules may apply if the accused has a mental disorder or is a young person. You also have rights to ensure your safety in these special cases. For more information, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

Before the trial

Avant procès

From the beginning of the criminal justice process, victims' right to protection is recognized in several ways.

Interventio
Police Intervention – 911
 

If you feel unsafe or witness a crime, you can call the police at 911. The police can intervene quickly to protect you, for example if you are at risk of injury. They can even enter a home to do so.

In other non-urgent cases, police officers usually have to obtain a warrant, that is, permission from a judge to enter a home and arrest a person.

 

To learn more and better understand how this may apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

détention ou conditions de liberté
The detention or conditions of liberation of the accused
 

To ensure your protection, the person who is arrested by the police may be detained, or conditions of bail may be imposed, until their first appearance before a judge or until their trial. 

Awaiting hearing

When a person is arrested, the police must decide whether to release them or not. The person will usually be released, as detention is the exception.


If the police release the person, they can impose conditions to ensure your safety. For example, you can tell them that you would like there to be a contact ban.

In other cases, the police may decide to detain the person until they appear promptly before a judge. For example, police officers must detain it if they believe that your safety as a victim or that of a witness is at stake.

Thus, do not hesitate to share with the police your fears and needs.

Awaiting trial

If the person is not released by the police and appears detained before the judge, the prosecutor may oppose their release.

In that case, the judge must decide whether to release the accused or not pending trial. This is called the release inquiry.

The judge may keep the accused detained pending trial if it is necessary to ensure your protection or public safety.

In other cases, the judge may decide to release the accused and may impose conditions of liberty to ensure your safety. The prosecutor may recommend to the judge conditions of release. Thus, do not hesitate to share your fears and needs with the prosecutor.

If the accused does not respect their release conditions, you can notify the police or the prosecutor because it is a criminal offence. For more information on the release investigation, you can visit the Éducaloi website.

 

To learn more and better understand how all this can apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

810
The "810"
 

"810" can be requested by anyone who has good reason to fear a person’s potential to enact harm against them, even if no crime has yet been committed. For example, you can ask if you are concerned that someone wants to:

  • Hurt you

  • Hurt your family

  • Damage your property

  • Release compromising/intimate images of you

 

The person will not be found guilty of a crime. It is a commitment of a duration of 12 months that is preventive.

 

During this time, the person commits to not disturb public order and to behave well, while respecting the conditions imposed. For example, the person could be required not to communicate with you and not to approach you.

You can inform the police if the person does not comply with a condition of the order, as it is a criminal offence.


For more information on the "810" commitment, you can visit the Éducaloi website.


To learn more and better understand how this may apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

During the trial

Pendant procès

During the trial proceedings, measures exist to protect the identity and privacy of the victim and to secure his or her testimony in court.

Protection of privacy
 
Protecton vie privée

If you are testifying in a criminal trial, you can ask the judge to order a publication ban. This means that it will be forbidden to publicize information that could help identify you, such as your name or the place of your residence for example. The judge is not obliged to make this order unless:

  • you are a victim or witness under the age of 18, or

  • you are a victim of sexual offences

 

If you wish to speak publicly about your experience, you can take steps to waive this order and make your identity public.

 

For more information or help with the protection of your identity, you can inquire with the prosecutor in your case.

To learn more and better understand how this may apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

protection vie privée sexuelle
Protecting the privacy of victims of sexual offences 
 

There are specific protections for victims of sexual offences to protect their privacy. Here are the three situations where protections are provided.

Proof of your sexual past

 

In theory, the accused cannot adduce evidence of the victim's sexual history. The accused cannot testify or ask you questions about the sexual relations you have had with them or anyone else in the past.

However, a judge may accept this evidence. The accused person must apply for it.


If the accused asks a judge to be able to prove your sexual history, you may be represented by independent counsel to protect your privacy.

Proof of your sexual reputation

An accused person cannot use your sexual reputation to attack your credibility. This concept refers to the morality of the victim in general in conclusion of his past or present sexual activities. For example, the accused cannot mention that the victim has already filed a complaint of sexual assault in the past or that the victim has previously worked in the sex industry to diminish their credibility.

Your information contained in private files

Information contained in victims' private files is protected. For example, the victim's medical records, psychiatric or therapeutic records, or social service records.

 

The prosecutor who has personal information about the victim cannot pass it on to the accused or his or her lawyer.

If the accused wants access to your private files, they must have your agreement or ask the judge for them. They will then have to show that the information contained in your files is relevant to their defense.

 

If the accused tries to obtain your information from your private files, you have the right to be represented by independent counsel to protect your privacy.

 

To learn more and better understand how all this can apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

mesures aide témoignage
Measures to support testimony
 

Testifying may be difficult for you or may make you fear for your safety. Various measures are available to protect you. 

Closed session or testimony behind a screen or hidden from the public

Trials are generally public to maintain their integrity and respect freedom of the press. The judge may decide to exclude members of the public from the courtroom and thus opt for a trial in camera. It will do so only when serious reasons are at stake, such as the protection of victims or witnesses. However, closed sessions are rarely ordered.

 

If the public is present, the judge may allow you to testify behind a screen or device that prevents the public from seeing you.

Testimony in the presence of a trusted person

A victim or witness may ask the judge to be accompanied by a trusted person. Generally, the judge is obliged to accept this request if the victim or witness:

  • is under 18 years of age, or

  • has a physical or mental disability

 

In other cases, the judge is not obliged to accept this request but will be able to evaluate it.

Testimony outside the courtroom

A victim or witness may ask a judge to testify outside the courtroom (by television) or behind a screen so as not to see the accused. Generally, the judge is obliged to accept this request if the victim or witness:

  • is under 18 years of age, or

  • has a physical or mental disability

 

In other cases, the judge is not obliged to accept this request but will be able to evaluate it.

Prohibition on being cross-examined by the accused themselves

If you testify at trial, the accused that represents themselves or herself can cross-examine you. A victim or witness may ask a judge to prohibit the accused from cross-examining them. An independent lawyer will then be appointed to conduct the cross-examination in place of the accused. Generally, the judge is obliged to accept this request if the victim or witness is in any of the following situations:

  • is under 18 years of age

  • has a physical or mental disability

  • testifies in a criminal harassment or sexual assault case

 

In other cases, the judge is not obliged to accept this request but will be able to evaluate it.


To learn more and better understand how these different measures may apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

After the trial

Après procès

After trial, the victim may continue to require protection and security, particularly in the context of the offender's sentencing and rehabilitation in prison.

inscription délinquant
Registration of the offender at the time of sentencing
 

Offender registries help prevent crimes and facilitate investigations by authorities. This contributes to the protection of victims and public safety.

 

Offenders may be registered automatically or at the request of the prosecutor in the following registers:
 

The National Sex Offender Registry

An offender convicted or not criminally responsible for a designated sexual offence is registered in the Sex Offender Registry. For example, sexual assault, exhibitionism and child pornography are designated sexual offences. In these cases, the offender is automatically entered in the registry, so you do not have to take any steps.

This register is not public. It allows police officers to have easy access to the profiles of these offenders. 

The High-Risk Offender Registry

In some cases, the prosecutor may ask the judge to register the offender on the High-Risk Offender Registry. For example, this may be the case when the offender has committed a sexual offence against a child or if they demonstrate an increasing level of violence in the commission of their crimes.

This provincial registry creates a profile for the offender that can be shared nationally among the provinces.
 

To learn more about the possibility of registering the offender in this register in your situation, you can inquire with the prosecutor responsible for your case.

information déliquant détenu
Information about the detained offender
 

When the offender is convicted and sentenced to prison, being informed about the progress of their sentence can contribute to your sense of security.

For example, you can be informed about:

  • the location of the institution where the offender is incarcerated

  • granting a temporary absence or parole

  • the destination of the released offender

 

To receive information, you will need to fill out a form.

Provincial prison: offender sentenced to less than 2 years

You must fill out the form on the website of the Quebec Parole Board.
 

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or pedophilia are automatically contacted when a change in the case may put their safety at stake. You do not have to fill out a form to register. However, you must ensure that your contact information is up to date.

 

Federal penitentiary: offender sentenced to 2 years or more

You must complete the form on the Correctional Service of Canada website.
 

To learn more and better understand how all this can apply to your situation, contact the CJVAC to make an appointment.

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