The facts: A seven year-old girl was sexually abused and filmed by her mother’s boyfriend and others who responded to an online ad entitled “incest daughter”.
Five people were charged and found guilty. The charges against the girl’s mother were stayed.
Out of the love of her niece and the search for justice, the aunt of this young girl became the voice, eyes and face at the investigation, trial and lifelong recovery of the innocent young victim.
The aunt clocked thousands of miles on the road as the only family member to witness the trials of the five people accused of sexually exploiting this young girl.
She was there to look the offenders in the eyes and to let them know that the little girl they abused is loved. Throughout all of this trauma, the aunt leaned on the services provided by the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime.
“In the early days of the trial, I was talking to CRCVC nearly every day of the week,” she recalls. “The people who work at CRCVC give people so much hope.” “When it all came about I was isolated,” she recalls. “When I found the CRCVC, I felt like it was a weight lifted off my chest. There was somebody there to help, so I wasn’t facing everything alone.”
“To have someone there in your corner. It really helped.”
This loving aunt knew she had to do something and she knew she needed help. “I could easily say ‘I want to make a complaint’, but will I do it? No. I didn’t have the energy.” She just didn’t know where to start.
“The CRCVC helped me by writing victim impact statements. They wrote complaints to the ombudsman on my behalf. I couldn’t do that on my own. I was just exhausted by dealing with the initial trauma.”
It isn’t just help with paperwork. “There’s emotional support too,” she says.
“When I feel like I’m at my wit’s end and I just can’t cope, I talk to the people at CRCVC. They’ll set me back on track. I’ve even talked to them late at night or off hours.”
Although the offenders of this heinous crime are incarcerated, two of the offenders are out of jail on full parole. One is out on day parole. Only two remain behind bars, but they will get out. This causes even more stress for the aunt as she gears herself up for parole hearings.
“We work so closely with all of our clients,” says CRCVC Executive Director, Aline Vlasceanu. “There’s the initial trauma and everything that goes with it, including the trial. Then, there’s parole and the inevitable re-traumatization.” “Just like we were there for this amazing woman in the beginning, we’ll be there again and we’ll stay by her side for as long as she needs our help.”
Despite all the help provided by CRCVC, the aunt is quick to realize, nothing will ever bring back what was taken from her beautiful, young niece.