December 5, 2018. If you’ve ever been the victim of a crime, then you know how stressful it can be to deal with all that follows….. police, maybe a court appearance, lawyers. If you have hearing loss as well, your stress load can double or triple, depending on what happened.
We need all our faculties just to hear on a daily basis, and anything that can upset us or cause anxiety makes it very difficult to have the concentration needed to focus on hearing.
Over the past two years, a program to improve communication between the legal community and those with hearing loss was made possible by a grant from the Law Foundation of PEI. As more and more members of the legal community learned about the program they not only willingly participated, but encouraged others to participate as well. One of the first comments we received came from the Honourable David Jenkins, Chief Justice of PEI, who noted, “Effective sharing of legal information and opportunity for participation in legal proceedings are integral components to access to justice. This initiative to facilitate a better understanding of the law and improved communication for people who are hard of hearing is to be commended.”
Navigating a world in which you have been a victim is traumatic, so we were very pleased when Victim Services heard about the program from Kelly Robinson of CLIA PEI and wanted to participate. To help in our mutual goal of access to justice for all, we provided a few tips on better communication with those with hearing loss and introduced staff at the Charlottetown office to a portable hearing accessibility tool to amplify sound – a pocket talker.
Susan Maynard, Provincial Manager, Victim Services, explained that “Victim Services is a program of the Department of Justice and Public Safety which assists victims in the aftermath of a crime and throughout their involvement in the criminal justice system.”
Seated, left to right: Annie Lee MacDonald; Susan Maynard, Provincial Manager, Victim Services; Darrell Gallant, Alternative Dispute Resolution; Georgina Bowness, Victim Services Worker. Standing, left to right: Daria Valkenburg; Catherine Chaisson, Office of the Childrens’ Lawyer. (Photo taken by Carolyn Peters, Victim Services Worker)
We asked what kind of assistance Victim Services provides, and Susan gave us a summary of the varied and important work done by this office. “Services include:
– information about the status of your case and the criminal justice system
– short term counselling and emotional support
– court preparation
– help in preparing a victim impact statement
– assistance under the ‘Victims of Family Violence’ Act
– risk assessment and safety planning
– help to recover financial losses
-coordination of services”
So, if you’re the victim of a crime on PEI and have hearing loss, you’ll be happy to know that Victim Services of the PEI Department of Justice & Public Safety has a pocket talker at the offices in Charlottetown & Summerside. All you have to do is speak up and ask to use one. Kudos for increasing hearing accessibility!
Contact information for Victim Services:
- Queens and Kings Counties: 1 Harbourside Access Rd., Charlottetown, PE. Phone: 902-368-4582.
- Prince County: Suite 19, 2nd Floor, 263 Harbour Drive, Summerside, PE. Phone: 902-888-8218.
For a list of lawyers on PEI and other members of the law community who have a pocket talker in their office, and who have agreed to have their information posted on the blog, see: https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/pei-lawyers-with-pocket-talkers/
If you would like to participate in this program for improving hearing accessibility, let us know. Email us at email@example.com or comment on our blog. You can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.
Don’t miss our upcoming events:
- Event in Venue Equipped With A Hearing Loop: UPCOMING CONCERT: Sorensen Christmas Concert at South Shore United Church in Tryon, 7:30 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018. “The Shepherds Were the First to Hear”, held in the sanctuary. Lunch and a time for Christmas socializing will follow the concert. Admission is a freewill offering which will be donated to the Church Building Fund. This venue is equipped with a hearing loop for the benefit of those with hearing loss. If you have never heard the clarity of sound through a hearing loop, this is an opportunity to try it out.
- Event in Venue with Real Time Captioning and a temporary hearing loop: The PEI Human Rights Commission & Town of Stratford are hosting Human Rights Day 2018 at Stratford Town Hall, Monday, December 10, 2018, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. This year’s event is to celebrate 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to introduce the new vertical $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond of Nova Scotia. This event will have real time captioning available for the benefit of those with hearing loss, as well as a temporary hearing loop so you can experience the clarity of sound. We will be there to answer any questions as well.
Check out our Upcoming Events page for more events. (See https://theauralreport.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/)
© Daria Valkenburg