The Victim Witness Liaison (VWL) program was created in 2000 because the victim and witness representation was an identified need in the NAN communities.
What is the Victim Witness Liaison?
The Victim Witness Liaison (VWL) program helps victims and witnesses by providing information and support, making referrals to community and government agencies, and liaising with court personnel.
The VWL program handles all cases pertaining to criminal law. Victim Witness Liaisons cannot contact or assist a perpetrator (offender). They only assist with the victims and witnesses and/or those who are assisting victims and witnesses.
The Victim Witness Liaison program strives to improve the quality of service to victims and witnesses of crime by using a holistic approach – and by supporting and empowering clients in a non-intrusive manner.
NALSC employs a Victim Witness Liaison Coordinator, Victim Witness Liaison-East, and Victim Witness Liaison-West to serve the NAN communities. They are located in Thunder Bay, Timmins and Sioux Lookout to best serve their clients.
Objectives & Services
We strive to ensure that all members of the NAN communities are aware of their rights. Victim Witness Liaisons (VWLs) aim to protect individuals from further victimization by assisting victims and witnesses in and outside the courtroom. VWLs ensure the client’s immediate safety concerns are addressed – such as:
- Finding a safe place
- Determining what resources are in the community
- Making sure children involved are taken care of and safe
- Contacting the local police department
Our Victim Witness Liaisons also ensure that our clients are informed of all relevant facts to their case and that victims are made aware of and supported through restorative justice processes available at NALSC.
Victim Witness Liaisons provide a variety of services for all members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory – regardless of age, gender, sexual preference or ability. Services include:
- Assistance in completing legal documents and other forms i.e. Victim Impact Statements (VIS), Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) application forms.
- Helping the victims and witnesses understand the court process.
- Obtaining the necessary information in regards to cases, CICB requested documents, whereabouts of the offender, the resources available to victims and witnesses, etc.
- Supporting victims and witnesses by liaising with Crown Attorneys, Chief and Council, families and service providers in the community, etc.
- Making referrals to appropriate services and agencies.
- Victim Support Line Toll Free 1-888-579-2888
- Assaulted Women’s Helpline Toll Free 1-866-863-0511 TTY 1-866-863-7868
- Thunder Bay Crisis Response (807) 346-8282
- District of Thunder Bay Crisis Reponse Toll Free 1-800-269-3100
- Beendigen Inc. For Aboriginal women and children in crisis (807) 346-HELP (4357) Toll Free 1-888-200-9997