unescorted temporary absence (UTA)
a form of temporary absence without accompaniment so offenders may:

  • receive medical treatment;
  • make contact with their family;
  • undergo personal development and/or counselling; and
  • participate in community service work projects;
  • may also be granted for compassionate reasons (e.g. a funeral); a UTA can be for an unlimited period for medical reasons and for a maximum of 60 days for specific personal development programs. UTA’s for community service or personal development can be for a maximum of 15 days, up to three times per year for a medium security inmate, or four times per year for a minimum security inmate. The duration of other types of UTA’s ranges from a maximum of 48 hours per month for a medium security inmate to 72 hours per month for a minimum security inmate; see also escorted temporary absence
unfit to stand trial
a designation made by a judge that a criminal defendant is so mentally disturbed that he or she could not understand what is going on at trial. When an accused is found unfit they are usually held in a mental-health facility until they are found to be fit, and then they prosecution resumes. The defendant must be re-evaluated every two years to determine whether or not they are fit to stand trial.
unfounded offence
a classification used by the police for an alleged offence that the police determined was false, mistaken, or not worth investigating for other reasons
verdict
the decision as to guilt or innocence given by the court
victim
the person who has been directly harmed or has experienced loss due to the crime committed against him or her; and immediate family members including parents or guardians, siblings, spouses or common law spouses, and children of those who a violent crime has been committed against. This also includes close friends of the victim
victim crisis assistance and referral services (VCARS)
an Ontario service for victims of crime which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides immediate on-site assistance and emotional support to victims of crime
victim empathy
when an offender understands his or her offence from the victim’s point of view; its achievement is one of the goals of victim-offender reconciliation programs and is also frequently used in the treatment of sex offenders
victim fine surcharge
in addition to the sentence imposed, a judge must order an adult offender to pay a small fee, which is collected by the provincial/territorial governments to finance victim services (the individual victim does not receive the money)
victim impact statement
a written or oral statement from the victim of an offence (or the victim’s family or surviving relatives) describing harm done to, or loss suffered by, the victim arising from the commission of an offence; the statement will be included as evidence for use in determining the sentence imposed on the convicted offender. There are restrictions on what can be said in a victim impact statement like; you can only refer to the crime that the offender was convicted of, if there are other offences but the offender was not convicted then the victim cannot address these in the victim impact statement.
victim notification list
a database containing the names and current addresses and telephone numbers of those victims wishing to receive ongoing information on an offender from the Correctional Service of Canada
victim-offender mediation
a form of restorative justice in which offenders meet with victims and third-party mediators to allow victims to obtain information about the crimes and express feelings to the offenders, to develop an agreement, and to increase offender awareness of the physical, emotional, and material impact of crime and to deter the offender from re-offending in the future by showing them the full impact of the crime. This is a multi-staged process and takes place over time, not in one meeting and is voluntary for both the victim and the offender.
victim/witness assistance program (VWAP)
Ontario victim services which is provided at the courthouse for victims who are also witnesses in the trial including courtroom orientation, information about the case, and court accompaniment
victimization
this is when a crime is committed against a person and results in some type of harm, loss, trauma, or injury due to the criminal act
victimization survey
a survey which asks average people about how often they have been the victims of crime during a certain time period, usually the last year. Such surveys are the best indicator we have of the true amount of crime and confirm that most crimes are not reported to the police
victimless crimes
crimes such as prostitution or drug possession in which there is thought to be no direct, identifiable victim. Some contend that these crimes should be decriminalized while others contend that such crimes do have victims, including the children of the offenders and the offenders themselves
victimology
The study of victims of crime and the psychological effects of crime on victims
victim advocate
a person or group who supports and assists victims of crime and who defends, promotes, or fights for victims rights
viva voce evidence
oral (spoken) evidence
voir dire
this has been described as a trial within a trial, and usually revolves around the admissibility of evidence and highly technical legal issues