No Court Date

by Lorraine
(Hamilton, Ontario)

My daughter was not given her "Day in Court":
I found out just over three years ago that my daughter was sexually molested by her dad - my husband of nearly 20 years. When she told me of this incident I contacted the police because my husband has a shot gun in our house and I was afraid that someone who was sick enough to molest his only surviving child would do God knows only what with a shot gun in the house. The police informed us immediately after taking my daughter's statement that because it was her word against his word that most likely charges would NEVER BE LAID and that I should get a good divorce lawyer and move on with my life. I have felt cheated out of justice for my daughter ever since. Now is she is almost 19 years old and does not want to lay criminal charges against her dad although she has had no contact with him since she told me of the incident just over three years ago because she is afraid of him. I will not forgive the Hamilton Police force for taking her chance of justice away from her and me.

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Comments for No Court Date

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Mar 10, 2016
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

It was bias that had that police officer telling you that it was "his word against your daughter's", and to encourage you not to go further. Perhaps it was less sinister than that. Perhaps the officer felt that it would be too traumatizing for your daughter and highly unlikely that there was enough evidence, but that call wasn't up to the police. It would have been up to Crown Council after taking into account all that was available for evidence.

As for the Hamilton Police taking away your daughter's ability to have her day in court, in Canada, there is no statute of limitations on child abuse. If your daughter wants to pursue court further, that option is available to her. However, the longer ago the abuse occurred, the more difficult it will be for a conviction.

The other thing to remember is that just because your daughter has a day in court doesn't mean she'll get justice. It doesn't mean your ex will be convicted. And it's THAT that can be among the most damaging for victims, especially when a judge rules in favour of the defendant in such cases. For victims, it's like being told "I don't believe you", the #1 reason that victims don't tell in the first place. That's why it's so very important for victims of historical abuse to have done a great deal of healing AND have a really good support system in place before heading to court.

You got your daughter away from the harm when you learned of the abuse. You contacted the authorities and tried to get justice for her. You did everything right. Beyond all that, beyond what you shared in your story, I sense you harbour a great deal of feelings of guilt for not having seen what that man was capable of before it ever happened. Just as it wasn't your daughter's fault for being abused, it wasn't your fault that your husband of 20 years abused her. That's on him. You can best help your daughter when you are in an emotionally healthy place, so I strongly suggest you seek out some form of counselling in order to deal with these feelings, Lorraine.

As for your daughter, it is now her choice as to whether or not to pursue criminal charges. Either now or sometime in the future. If she does decide to go that route at some future time, she'll have to be emotionally ready to relive the trauma, and the possibility that justice will not be served. Either choice she makes, she'll need you. And when you're emotionally healthy, she'll be able to lean on you in ways that are very important to what she'll be dealing with. Not to mention your own peace of mind.

I send both you and your daughter love, light and healing energy. Thank you for sharing your daughter's story and your experience with my visitors and me, Lorraine.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

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