Developing a trauma-informed justice system response to victims and witnesses of violent crime is one step closer to reality thanks to the support of the federal Department of Justice.
The federal government’s funding of $785,000 over five years backs development and delivery of a training, education and awareness curriculum to create a trauma-informed justice and public safety sector in British Columbia. When complete, the training will ensure participants:
- Recognize and understand trauma, especially its effects on victims and witnesses
- Have a clear understanding of how violence and abuse shape victim responses
- Use skills to assess practices and processes with a trauma-informed lens
- Reduce potential re-traumatization of victims and witnesses as they participate in the justice system.
The innovative approach is a direct outcome of B.C.’s November 2015 Justice Summit – the province’s fifth gathering of senior justice and public safety leaders, industry experts and Aboriginal leaders – that considered research on the neurobiological impact of violent trauma and how the justice system could take positive steps to benefit from this understanding.
A cross-sector steering committee will provide direction and oversight to the development of the trauma-informed practice training, education and awareness curriculum and report to B.C.’s Justice and Public Safety Council.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada –
"As promised, the Government of Canada is proceeding with a review of our criminal justice system to ensure it is efficient, fair and accessible. As such, I am pleased to congratulate the Province of B.C. in its ongoing work through the B.C. Justice Summits. These forums create space for innovative approaches such as the trauma-informed training and service delivery initiative announced today. I look forward to B.C. sharing the results with other provinces and territories when the work is complete."
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice –
“The B.C. Justice Summits are fertile ground for new ideas with tremendous potential to improve the justice and public-safety sector for the benefit of victims, witnesses and the many dedicated people who work in this sector. These ideas will result in improvements not just for B.C. but across our country. I applaud the Department of Justice for supporting the development of this training.”
Mike Morris, Minister of Justice of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“Supporting trauma-informed approaches in the justice and public safety sector was one of the key recommendations of the fifth Justice Summit. The development of this new curriculum is a critical first step in increasing awareness of the impacts of trauma on those involved in the justice system and will help inform key shifts in practice to support effective justice and public safety responses. I’m proud to see that this work will come to fruition.”
- The Justice and Public Safety Council and Justice Summits were established in 2013 and mandated by the Justice Reform and Transparency Act to promote innovation and collaboration in the sector.
- Justice Summit participants include senior justice and public safety leaders, NGOs and Aboriginal leaders.
- The seventh Justice Summit is planned for November 2016.
- Other topics of recent summits include family justice, domestic and sexual violence, information-sharing across multiple proceedings and mental health/substance use that leads to contact with the criminal justice system.
Read the proceedings of previous Justice Summits http://www.justicebc.ca/justice-summits/