Coming Forward If You Witnessed a Crime

If you are a witness to a crime deciding what to do after the incident can be frightening and confusing. There are people who can help you.

When you come forward and report a crime to the police, you may be taking the first step in helping to prevent further crimes and to protect others from experiencing the same thing.

You have no legal obligation to report a crime, unless it involves a child or young person (under 19) in need of protection because they, for example, are being abused, neglected or sexually exploited. If you choose to report the crime, the information you provide may help the police find the right person. 

Victim Service Workers

If you are unsure if you should report a crime, you can discuss your options in confidence with a victim service worker by calling VictimLinkBC without officially reporting the crime. They will not discuss your situation with anyone else without your knowledge and permission except as required by law, included when the victim is a child or young person or a crime is about to be committed. 

Important Information You Should Know

It is important for you to know that:

  • Even if the victim does not want to report the crime, you can still report the crime
  • If you are an immigrant or refugee, you will not be deported because you come forward as a witness. To learn more, see the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act
  • Even if you choose not to report the crime, VictimLinkBC can provide you with 24 hour information, support and referral to local victim service programs

Importance of Coming Forward to Report a Crime

There are good reasons to report a crime.

  • You or someone else may need protection from the person who committed the crime.
  • It can give you an opportunity to deal with the harm done to you or others.
  • There is a better chance of police arresting a person if they are called as soon as possible.
  • Your report may stop the person who committed the crime from committing another crime.
  • It can help to protect you, your loved ones and the community from future crimes.