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Facing Charges: how might this affect me?

Being charged with a criminal offence can be an overwhelming experience. The events leading up to a criminal charge are often complex and many women are not aware of their rights. It can be easy to imagine the worst-case scenario. Atira’s Early Resolution Program helps women navigate the criminal justice system after they are charged with certain criminal offences.

What is a criminal record?

A criminal record is documentation of a person’s criminal conviction(s). Criminal records can include someone’s interactions with the criminal justice system, which frequently begins with the police, as well as any crimes they have been charged with or convicted of since the age of 12.

It is important to note that criminal records are not made public, but police, prosecutors, customs officers, and other officials can see them.

What is early resolution?

Any form of resolution that averts a trial is considered an early resolution in the context of criminal law. For example, a proposal to Crown for alternative measures and the successful completion of the Alternative Measures Program satisfies the court process. What you do to support your well-being will be included in an early resolution proposal (this might include personal development courses you have taken, letters of recommendation highlighting your volunteer and work activities, and other personal accomplishments).

What do alternative measures programs involve?

There is no singular program description for alternative measures as each woman’s program is specific to her lived experiences, desired outcomes, and the circumstances of the offence. Examples of alternative measures programs could be writing an apology letter, attending counselling sessions, connecting with a housing outreach worker, connecting with an elder, attending cultural programming, etc.

We’re here to support you.

Our Early Resolution Community Legal Advocate can provide support and referrals to accessing cultural, behavioral and counselling programs, rehabilitation treatments, housing outreach, and other community resources that may support your process. She can also provide court support and meet with you one-on-one to answer questions.

How to apply:

  1. If you have a Legal Aid Lawyer, they can refer you to our program.
    Our criminal lawyer and legal advocate will work with you and your lawyer.
  2. You can self-refer to our program. Our legal advocate can then assist you with your legal aid application & help with navigating court process.

Learn more about our Legal Programs