After four long years, a decision that delivers closure for a person who is a victim
It’s mid-January 2021 in Airdrie. The sun is out, it feels unseasonably warm, and ADVAS team members Deb and Andrea are taking part in court proceedings remotely from the RCMP detachment. More than a few empty coffee cups sit on the table – evidence of the 4 hours that the team members have spent in this spot, listening intently to the information that is being shared. Jake, the ADVAS trauma dog, is resting on his bed just behind Deb after a long week of serving his community.
Today is a day that many people have been looking forward to for a long time.
It was four years ago that a young resident of Airdrie became the victim of a serious crime in an incident that has left lasting scars. An innocent person who was made a victim of a horrendous crime, this young person has spent four years navigating the court system while they are healing from their injuries and planning for their future.
And thanks to a member of the police who called ADVAS to request assistance, this person has had the backing of trained advocates throughout these chapters in their life story. They have had support connecting to services in the community that can help with healing, and they have worked closely with Deb, Court Coordinator at ADVAS, to remain connected to and informed about their case and how the criminal justice system works.
This part of their life story feels long, and some pages are painful. But today – there is a sense of excitement in the air. Today, the case that is before the courts will reach its conclusion.
The person who has been so diligent in their healing is joining in the proceedings remotely, too. Deb and Andrea can see the anticipation on their face. As the judge prepares to share their decision, all the expressions on the screen become stoic. The judge speaks, and the stoic faces begin to react. Eyes fill with tears, and it takes a lot of energy to not yell out a response.
“On the first count … Guilty. … On the second count … Guilty … On the third count … Guilty”
For a moment, there is a pause. And then, in the corner of the screen, with tears in their eyes, the person who has been waiting for closure for so long looks at their camera and quietly says, “Thank you.”
This part is over. No more waiting. No more unknowns. Their healing journey continues. The court has heard their powerful voice, and they can now continue writing new chapters in their life story.
After four years of providing support and assistance to this person, Deb shares her feelings just moments after the court proceedings end, “We are so thrilled for this person. This has been a long journey for them, and we are so happy for them. I’m glad that we were able to be there to support them.”
Amen to that, Deb.
ADVAS is supporting more people who are victims than ever before, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve. While we receive some funding through different municipal and provincial programs, a lot of our work is supported by members of the community – individuals, businesses, and groups who see value in what we do. If you would like to support our work, click here.