On April 6, 2023, HomeFront hosted a dedication and unveiling event for our new Remote Testimony Room. We have dedicated this space in memory of to two former HomeFront Case Managers, Wanda Clark and Suzanne DuGray, who exemplified what it means to be a safe space for victims of domestic violence. Wanda and Suzanne were a beacon of light to the clients they served and made a significant difference in the lives of so many families impacted by domestic violence.
We were thrilled to be joined by the families of Wanda and Suzanne, as well as Minister Mike Ellis, and many of our partners from the Government of Alberta, Calgary Police Service, Prosecutions office and many more. The event was an opportunity to not only officially unveil the new space, but to take time to celebrate the incredible lives of Wanda and Suzanna and the tremendous legacy they left on all who knew them.
This new Remote Testimony Room will provide victims of domestic violence the opportunity to testify remotely to court from a safe, technologically equipped, trauma-informed space. In 2022, of the HomeFront files resolved at the trial stage, 48% of files (n=28) were resolved with a stay of proceedings or a withdrawal of charges due to an uncooperative or absent victim/witness. We believe that this new remote testimony room will increase victim engagement in the trial process by reducing the often debilitating fear of facing their abuser in court, remove barriers and reduce re-victimization.
The space has been specially designed using a trauma informed approach to uniquely fit the needs of the clients who utilize the space. Soft rounded furniture, natural colours and plants make the space feel inviting, calm and relaxing. We welcomed our first victim to testify in this space in February and her HomeFront Case Manager revealed that this spaced allowed the victim to feel safe, comfortable and at ease while testifying.
“Alberta’s government is pleased to fund these remote testimony rooms that will greatly improve support for victims of crime. It can be incredibly daunting for victims to face their abuser in court while recounting the events that led them there. Victims being able to testify remotely will lead to abusers being held accountable for their actions and justice being served.”
“We were so happy to dedicate this new space to two incredible and important women, Wanda and Suzanne, and spend time remembering and reflecting on their legacy. This new space will provide an opportunity for our clients to testify outside of a courtroom in a safe and trauma-informed space. We anticipate this will increase victim engagement in the trial process, reduce fear of testifying and ultimately lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.”
Thank you to everyone who attended this event, and we look forward to keeping you updated on the progress and success of this new space