A new video series is raising awareness about the supports available to victims of violence in Whitehorse, Yukon. The three-part video series provides information about the criminal justice system, and outlines what health and social services are available to victims.
In a crisis situation, victims of sexualized assault need to know what their options are, whether they want to report it or not," says Collyn Lovelace, co-ordinator of the Yukon Women's Coalition. "
Knowing what to expect is a huge part of making an informed choice."
The videos walk victims through the step-by-step process of reporting domestic violence and sexual assault to police. They also explain what the court process is, including what the courtroom looks like, and what questions they may be asked.
There's generally a lot of uncertainty and angst as to what the process is, and we want to alleviate part of that concern and make them more comfortable during a difficult time," says Insp. Keith MacKinnon, officer in-charge of the Whitehorse RCMP detachment.
In 2015, Whitehorse RCMP and six Whitehorse women's groups signed the Together for Safety protocol, which works toward making the northern community safer for all women. The rate of domestic violence in the Yukon is 3.8 times the national average, according to Statistics Canada.
The video series was a product of the protocol. Community partners like Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Victim Services, Whitehorse General Hospital, the Kwanlin Dün Health Centre and Whitehorse RCMP all contributed to the videos.
Our main message was that this can be quite a lengthy process," says Cst. Julia Fox, an officer at the Whitehorse detachment. "
It's almost like a marathon, so we wanted to prepare people for that."
Fox says the Whitehorse RCMP also wanted to articulate that it's never a victim's fault, and officers will respect whatever choice a victim makes.
It's about restoring peace of mind in a horrible situation to show victims that they have choice, rights and supports," says Fox.