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Children as witnesses in a domestic assault case

Alberta residents accused of domestic assault will have the right to defend themselves against the charges in court. If successful in their defences, they may be able to overcome the prosecution's attempt to convict them and walk free of the charges. Alternatively, they might be able to obtain a reduction in the severity of their punishments in the event of conviction.

During criminal defence proceedings relating to domestic assault, prosecutors will likely call witnesses to testify. Those witnesses might include family members, including children. However, children may be reluctant witnesses as a result of their closeness to the alleged crimes, and their close relationship to the victim and the accused. During such proceedings, prosecutors often try to use courtrooms that have been classified as "child-friendly."

There also exists the Child Witness Court Preparation Program, which attempts to serve the needs of children made to testify during court proceedings. The program is the court's answer to the fact that children can be traumatized and ultimately compromise the court process as a result of them being made to testify. The Child Witness Court Preparation Program supports children to testify by allowing them to meet other children who are in the same position. In Calgary, there is an in-person group program for children, and there is also an online program that children can access across the province.

There is no doubt about it -- the criminal defence process can be intimidating and stressful, especially when witnesses from the accused family are called forward to testify. Nevertheless, with the assistance of an Alberta criminal defence lawyer, accused individuals can navigate their defences in the most suitable and appropriate fashion possible given the facts of their cases.

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