The Role of Crown Prosecutors in Child Advocacy Centres in Canada

Advice for developing Crown and CAC relationships

One aim of the present study was to document current relationships between Crown and CACs. However, an additional aim was to provide thoughts and advice for those who will be establishing and navigating such relationships in the future. To this end, Crowns were asked to provide a key piece of advice to a Crown just entering into a relationship with a CAC. Responses were rather consistent across Crowns, with four primary themes:

  • Clearly communicate your role and the boundaries of your role;
  • Communicate and collaborate openly with the CAC;
  • Accept the assistance provided; and,
  • Learn about the CAC, visit the facility.
“They’re going to help your kid no doubt and they’re going to help you, the Crown, because there’s going to be less things for you to have to worry about. You can focus on the big things in your prosecution. I just find sometimes people can, you know we can be stuck in our ways of how we prosecute something and when there’s something new that comes up and someone’s offering to help, I can see someone going, ‘no, we’re good. We don’t need help.’ And I think it’s important to leave that at the door and at least give people a shot.”

Crowns were then asked to provide a key piece of advice to a CAC entering into a relationship with a Crown. Again, Crown were quite consistent in the responses provided:

  • Understand the Crown’s role;
  • Communicate and collaborate openly with the Crown ;
  • Ask for advice from Crown and ask Crown what they need;
  • Trust each other; and,
  • Watch a court case.
“A lot of them have never been to trials and see what goes on. I think that might be, because I've had officers that afterwards came and watch and they're like, ‘Oh, now I understand what your job is, how you use the videos…’ I think that would be good if they had time to come and watch a prelim and then maybe go to [court] and see a trial and see how people are questioned. That would show them what the importance of their questions are or how to conduct interviews for the improvement.”