Victims of crime can now access the informational video released by Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS) aimed to demystify the process of reporting and giving evidence in court.
The video, entitled Witness, shows examples of scenarios of what a victim could expect when reporting domestic violence.
After more than a year of fundraising and planning for the video, producer and script writer Lorna Bennet is thrilled that it’s finally released.
“I’m very glad it’s over it,” Bennet said at a launch party for Witness on Tuesday. “It took a long, long time and I do think it’s a very worthwhile project. You can never stress enough how important this is.”
Bennet said the biggest struggle while making Witness was finding funding.
After more than a year of raising money to make the film, ACAWS was successful in receiving grants from the Ministry of Justice, the City of Port Alberni and the Alberni Valley Lions Club.
Filming over just four days, most of the video’s cast and crew are Port Alberni people and all the scenes are filmed in the Alberni Valley.
The video is about 11 minutes long and is told in a voice-over narrative style so it can be easily adapted into different languages. There is currently a french and english version.
“It is our hope that the Witness video will serve as an educational tool to help victims of crime feel more comfortable about reporting and testifying,” Ellen Frood, executive director at ACAWS, said at the launch party. “It’s about helping them understand the process from the time they are hurt through to court and what might happen.”
Frood said domestic violence towards women is an issue ACAWS hears about “time and time again.”
“It’s only a fraction of the people that will come forward and report,” she said. “We really want people to feel comfortable coming forward.”
Violence by a male partner is the leading cause of non-fatal injury to women in Canada and in Canada, every five days a woman is killed by her male partner, according to a press release from ACAWS. On any given night in Canada, 3,500 women and their 2,700 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home.