Support for Child Witnesses
From: Child Victims in Canada’s Justice System
Chapter Thirteen Support for Child Witnesses examines the support services for Children who are required to testify in court, either as a victim of or a witness to a crime. The chapter explores topics such as the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime, the Child Witness Centre in Kitchener, lack of information and understanding for child victims, risk of public exposure for victims, the effect of facing the accused on child victims, stress of cross-examination, and the principals and practices of Child Witness Programs. It also provides a case study of the day in the life of Laura Cook, a Child Witness Centre caseworker.
Loree Armstrong Beniuk
Loree Armstrong Beniuk holds a Master of Social Work degree and is a Registered Social Worker with a private clinical practice in Mississauga, Ontario. With her knowledge of criminal courts, legal protocol, and procedures gleaned from many years working in Toronto with child witnesses and their supportive adults, she was hired by an inter-agency committee to develop and coordinate a new Child Witness Preparation Program in Peel. She later took on the role of Supervisor, Clinical Services at Peel Children’s Centre. Loree worked for many years as Program Manager of Central Agencies Sexual Abuse Treatment Program at Child Development Institute in Toronto. In this role she worked with more than forty treatment agencies and services to ensure the adoption of Best Practices in abuse treatment throughout Toronto. She spearheaded and co-authored a 2006 publication entitled Child Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.
Jo-Anne Hughes was a co-founder and Program Manager of the Child Witness Centre in Kitchener and worked on a daily basis with child victims for more than seventeen years. She also served as an Adjudicator with the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board until 2018. In 2007, Jo-Anne was amongst the first to receive the Ontario Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction for outstanding services to victims of crime. She also received the Sertoma International Service to Mankind Award (for Canada, New York, and Pennsylvania).
Jack Reynolds is a graduate of the Ivey Business School at Western University and completed an MBA at McMaster. He spent more than thirty years in senior management at Mutual Life of Canada and has authored four books. He served for ten years as the Executive Director of the Child Witness Centre in Kitchener, providing support, education, court accompaniment, and advocacy for child victims in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.