Further, the U.N. Child Witness Model Law recognizes that from the very beginning of an
investigation, child victim protection takes precedent over the protections required for adult
victims. The law provides a copious set of rights for child victims and witnesses, including the
right to be protected from hardship during the justice process, the right to safety, and the right to
special preventive measures. Modeling Canada’s progressive laws, the U.N. Child Witness Model
Law recommends the use of a support person for child witnesses and advises that the support
person be allowed to accompany the witness throughout their participation in the court
proceedings. Similarly, the U.N. Child Witness Model Law recommends the use of an opaque
shield or closed circuit television for delivering the testimony.
Canada is progressive in its use of aids for child witnesses to testify, which includes support
persons, witness screens, and video recorded testimony. Canada is an exemplary role model with
regards to how they treat the needs of their most vulnerable citizens with such great care and
respect. The use of aids in child testimony is of incomparable value as it allows a susceptible mind
to find comfort and strength when recounting potentially harrowing moments. Canada has taken
extraordinary steps including supporting the drafting of international model laws to support
children around the world. Canada has gone above and beyond other nations, including the United
States, and their example should be admired and emulated throughout the world.
ALLISON CUNNINGHAM AND PAMELA HURLEY, DESIGNATED SUPPORT PERSON 1-3, 10, 12, 30 (Centre for
Children and Families in the Justice System, ed., 2007), http://www.lfcc.on.ca/5_SupportPerson.pdf.
ALLISON CUNNINGHAM AND PAMELA HURLEY, HELPING A CHILD BE A WITNESS IN COURT
for Children and Families in the Justice System, 2007), http://www.lfcc.on.ca/Helping_a_Child_Witness.pdf.
Economic and Social Council Res. 2005/20 (July 22, 2005), ii, 3, 18, 54-55, 58,
Melissa Northcott, Facilitating Testimony for Child Victims and Witnesses, Issue 2 VICTIMS OF CRIME
RESEARCH DIGEST, 2009, http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/cj-jp/victim/rd09_2-rr09_2/p3.html.
U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice 1, 3, 6, 13 (Jan.
Dimitrios Levogiannis v. Her Majesty The Queen and the Attorney General of Canada, the Attorney
General of Quebec, the Attorney General of Manitoba and the Attorney General for Alberta, 4 S.C.R. 475, (1993),