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Law Practical Guides

Trauma, Trials, and Transformation

Guiding sexual assault victims through the legal system and beyond

by (author) Judith Daylen, Wendy van Tongeren Harvey & Dennis O'Toole

foreword by Claire L'Heureux-Dubé

Irwin Law Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2006
Practical Guides, Clinical Psychology, Gender & the Law, General
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    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
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    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
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Victims of sexual assault or abuse may feel that they face insurmountable obstacles to recovery or the pursuit of justice. The goal of this book is to facilitate their emotional and psychological journey and to demystify some of the complexities of the legal system.

Trauma, Trials, and Transformation is a guide for anyone who has been sexually assaulted and who wants to hold the offender accountable. It will also assist law enforcement, court, and helping professionals who work in this area.

What sets this book apart from other, similar legal guides is its focus on both the legal and the psychological perspective. Effective navigation of the complex legal system terrain requires not only knowledge of that system, how it works, who the main players are, and their views and objectives, but also emotional and psychological preparedness.

To write this guide, the authors have drawn on their first-hand experience in the courts, their direct professional experience with those who have been sexually assaulted or abused, and a review of the legal and psychological literature. The authors are a Crown prosecutor and two clinical psychologists.

Trauma, Trials, and Transformation is written in everyday, accessible language. The authors have included a glossary of common terms to assist the reader in communicating and understanding legal concepts when dealing with legal professionals. The appendices include some very practical checklists. The book also contains a special chapter on civil litigation, which summarizes some alternative methods of seeking redress following a sexual crime. The final chapter is devoted to the topics of systemic change and personal growth, illustrated with stories of inspirational people who transformed their lives and those around them in the aftermath of traumatic experiences.

About the authors

Dr. Judith Daylen received her M.A. in cognitive psychology in 1985, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1994 from the University of British Columbia. During the past 20 years, Dr. Daylen has worked primarily with victims of sexual and physical assault. She has worked as a volunteer in a rape crisis centre; has provided individual and group treatment to sexual assault victims; has provided training to a wide range of mental health and legal professionals; and has published research on victims and witnesses of crime.

Currently, Dr. Daylen works as a clinical and consulting psychologist, providing consultation to lawyers and assessments of sexual assault victims in civil litigation, class action lawsuits, and the Indian Residential School Alternative Dispute Resolution process. Dr. Daylen has expertise in the dynamics of sexual assaults and childhood sexual abuse, assessment of the effects of trauma on psychological functioning and memory, and assessment of the credibility of allegations of abuse.

Judith Daylen's profile page

Wendy van Tongeren Harvey has been a Crown prosecutor in British Columbia for 26 years. In May 2006, she began work as a prosecutor with the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a UN-sponsored tribunal that is trying eleven men for crimes committed during a lengthy civil war.

Aside from 20 years of active courtroom prosecutions, van Tongeren Harvey`s core expertise is in cases involving children. During her career, she has travelled to Australia to teach prosecutors about child abuse cases, has represented Canada at a NATO conference in Italy on evidence from child witnesses, and has taken part in panels at the Hague.

Wendy van Tongeren Harvey's profile page

Dennis O'Toole received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1989. Since that time he has maintained a largely forensic clinical practice and has appeared as an expert witness in Family Court, Youth Court, and other courts. He has worked with both sexual offenders and victims of sexual assault. He has lectured on forensic issues at the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia. Until recently he was the Clinical Director, Northern Region, of Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services.

Dennis O'Toole's profile page

Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé served on the Supreme Court of Canada for fifteen years, from 1987 to 2002. During that time, she participated in over six hundred Charter of Rights and Freedoms decisions.


Claire L'Heureux-Dubé's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This book is invaluable for lawyers as well as other professionals, victims as well as lay people. It is comprehensive as it looks at the issue of sexual assault from many perspectives, from the legal to the physical and psychological. It is easy to read and it strikes me as an incredibly useful, practical, and effective tool for many actors in the judicial system, as well as for victims. It is an exciting addition to the literature on the subject and I am sure it will be very well received by the legal community and the community in general. I do not think that there is another book on the subject that draws on the law as well as on psychology and empathy for victims while still being fair and balanced."

Honourable Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, Retired Justice, Supreme Court of Canada (from the Foreword)

Other titles by Claire L'Heureux-Dubé