The Trial

AuthorLoree Armstrong Beniuk, Jo-Anne Hughes, and Jack Reynolds
he Trial
I joined the Child Witness Centre as Executive Director aer spending  years in
the corporate world. I knew little about crimes against children in our community
or about the workings of our justice system, and had never known a child or family
who had experienced sexual abuse.
A few days aer I joined the agency I watched from my window as a young six-
year-old girl walked across the street holding her mother’s hand on one side, and our
caseworker’s hand on the other. She was a pretty little girl, well dressed. Anyone
else on the street might have assumed she was headed to school. e Child Witness
Centre is located just a short distance from a nearby school. ere were lots of other
kids on the street, headed to school with a parent.
However, she wasn’t headed to school. She was headed to the courthouse to
tell the judge, and strangers dressed in suits, and a lot of others there to watch,
what had happened to her. She had been horribly abused by her stepfather over an
extended period of time. e questions would be detailed and graphic.
Although only days into my new role, I already knew what that little girl didn’t…
at many such children carry those painful memories with them through their lives,
leading them to have diculty with trust and aecting future relationships. Di-
culty coping may later in life lead them to turn to drugs or alcohol. Sadly, some self
harm or even take their own lives.
Was that what the future held for this very young girl? I prayed that it wouldn’t.
at morning, days into my new role, I did something I’d never done before at work
in my  years in business. I cried.
—Comments from a former Executive Director of the
Child Witness Centre in Kitchener

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