- 1 Types of Services
- 2 Police-Based Services
- 3 Community-Based Services
- 4 System-Based Services
- 5 Court-Based Services
- 6 Non-Government Agencies
- 7 Compensation/Financial Assistance Programs
- 8 Provincial Victim Services
- 8.1 British Columbia
- 8.2 Alberta
- 8.3 Saskatchewan
- 8.4 Manitoba
- 8.5 Ontario
- 8.6 Quebec
- 8.7 New Brunswick
- 8.8 Nova Scotia
- 8.9 Prince Edward Island
- 8.10 Newfoundland and Labrador
- 8.11 Yukon
- 8.12 Northwest Territories
- 8.13 Nunavut
- 9 Federal Victim Services
Over the last few decades Canada has increasingly become aware of the needs of victims, and as a result, a multitude of victim services have become available. These services aim to help victims in a variety of ways, whether it is through providing them with information required to navigate through the complicated criminal justice system (CJS), or by providing financial compensation. Each province/territory has enacted its own legislation that governs and administers how victims should be treated and what sorts of resources, services and information should be provided to them. This overview intends to briefly discuss the types of services, legislation, and compensation that are available to victims of crime at the provincial/territorial level as well as at the federal level.
Types of Services
Below is a description of the different types of services that may be available to victims in each province, and the responsibilities of each service. It is important to note that the types of services may overlap in their responsibilities or duties, and should not be considered mutually exclusive.
These are victim services that are offered by either municipal, provincial or federal police agencies. They are usually provided after a victim’s first contact with the police, and are usually located within police detachments, although the people who directly assist victims are not necessarily police officers. Police based services can offer information, support, referrals to community services, and generally assist victims through the investigation of their case.
These are victim services that provide services directly to victims in their community, such as crisis counselling, support, therapy, practical assistance such as child care, information about the CJS, court orientation, and referrals. They often serve victims of specific types of crimes (such as victims of sexual assault) or offer their services to a certain demographic of victims (such as child victims or those of a certain culture or faith). Other community services are broader and more all-encompassing.
This type of victim service delivery is independent from police, courts and Crown Attorneys and is administered by the provincial and territorial governments. These services include providing information, support and referrals; short-term counselling; court preparation and accompaniment; Victim Impact Statements preparation; and liaising with police, courts, Crown and Corrections.
These are services that have been specifically designed to assist individuals as they move through the judicial system either as a victim or as a witness. They provide information, support and referrals to the victims in order to make the court process less intimidating. Some of the ways in which this is accomplished include: providing court orientation, preparing and accompanying the individual in court, updates on the progress of a case, coordinating meetings with the crown and assisting children to testify.
These types of services provide a variety of assistance to victims, including front line services, support, and information. They also often provide/ carry out advocacy work on behalf of victims with the goal of changing to a change laws or policies that are negatively impacting victims in some way.
Compensation/Financial Assistance Programs
Most provinces have programs in which victims and/or their family members can apply to for financial assistance to offset the costs incurred as a result of their victimization. When applying for compensation, you must apply to the program in the province where the crime occurred. It is important to note that the extent of compensation that can be given differs greatly from province to province to territory. Also, victims must apply within certain amounts of time (exceptions are sometimes made for child victims or victims of sexual assault), and meet certain criteria to be eligible. In most provinces, if the person was injured during the commission of an offense, was injured in a motor vehicle accident or had a history of serious criminal offenses, they will not be eligible for compensation. These types of assistance in each province are described briefly here, but please see our “Guide to Financial Assistance for Victims” for more detailed information.
Provincial Victim Services
In British Columbia, the needs of victims are recognized by the Victims of Crime Act, enacted in 1996. How victims should be treated, the information they are entitled to have, the administration of the Victim Surcharge Special Account, as well as a set of special goals that the government should promote to improve victim services in the province are all set out in this act.
As of March 31, 2010 Statistics Canada reported that 174 service providers in British Columbia completed the 2009/2010 Statistics Canada Victim Services Questionnaire (here on referred to as the Questionnaire). Of those who completed the Questionnaire, 94 were police based, 75 were community based, three were court based and two were sexual assault centres. Most of these programs are funded through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s annual budget and the Victim Surcharge Special Account. Depending on the population of the area they will serve, the programs will either be police based (in smaller communities) or community based (areas with a population of 20,000 or greater).
In BC, police based programs serve all victims and assist police in situations with multiple injuries or deaths, while community based programs tend to focus more on victims of family and sexual violence, or of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. BC also has a Victim Safety Unit which is operated by the Victim Services Branch of the provincial Ministry of Justice, and the Crime Prevention Divisions of the Government of British Columbia. This Unit promotes victim safety by notifying victims and parties that are protected by a restraining order about the provincial jail status of an offender, administering the Victim Travel Fund that allows for appearances of the victim and family members at judicial proceedings, and by working with other victim services to ensure a victim has access to all the support they need.
In British Columbia victims can apply for compensation through the Crime Victim Assistance Program, which is administered by Victim Services and the Crime Prevention Division of the B.C. government. Victims, immediate family members, and certain witnesses may be eligible for compensation as outlined under the Crime Victims Assistance Act. Compensation may be given for things such as medical and dental costs, prescription drugs, counselling, protective measures, income support lost, transportation expenses, and funeral expenses, in addition to others. Victims must apply within one year of the occurrence of the crime and it must have taken place within B.C. for compensation to be awarded to a victim. Although there is no universal limit to the amount of compensation that may be provided, certain benefits do include maximum award levels (such as $5000 for funeral expenses), as set out in the Crime Victim Assistance Act.
In Alberta, the Victims of Crime Act was enacted in 1997, and amalgamated the previously used Criminal Injuries Compensation and Victims Programs Assistance Acts. The principles outlined in this Act state that victims should be treated with respect, that they have the right to obtain information about their offender’s case, and be introduced to financial compensation. Under this Act, victim surcharges on provincial and federal statute offenses can be collected and placed into a fund that is drawn on to support the Financial Benefits for Victims of Violent Crime Program, and the Grants Program for Victims of Crime Service Agencies.
Following the enactment of the Victims of Crime Act, the amount of victim services rapidly expanded throughout the province. The Victim Services Branch in Alberta was created to oversee the administration of the Victims of Crime Act, and it would be their responsibility to administer the Financial Benefits Program, deliver the Grants Program, and to provide support to victim assistance programs. As of March 31, 2010, 121 victims services providers participated in the Questionnaire, of which 98 were police based, 11 were community based, five were sexual assault centres, four were court based and three were classified as other.
In Alberta, eligible victims are able to access the Financial Benefits Program. This program differs from the traditional compensation programs in that it provides victims of violent crime with a one-time financial benefit, based on the number and severity of their injuries, rather than compensating them based on losses or costs incurred from their victimization. The amount that is awarded is set in the regulations of the Victims of Crime Act, and can range from $0-$110,000 (one of the highest possible benefit amounts available in Canada). If a person dies as the result of a crime, the maximum amount of death benefits that their family can receive is $12,500 per deceased victim. In order to be eligible, victims must ensure that they apply within 2 years of their victimization. A recent addition to the Financial Benefits Program allows for a monthly supplemental benefit that can be given to victims who have become quadriplegic or suffer from serious brain damage; they may receive up to $1000 per month for support and services.
The Victims of Crime Act in Saskatchewan was enacted in 1995 and declares a set of principles which should be followed by professionals within the CJS when interacting with victims. The Act provides for the existence of the Victims Fund, which uses money collected from federal and provincial victim surcharges to provide funding for the majority of victim services in the province, including the Victim Compensation Program. The Act also provides a legislative basis for the Victim Services Program.
As of March 31, 2010, of the 93 victim services providers who completed the Questionnaire, 67 were police based, 10 were community based, 10 were sexual assault centres and six were court based. Under the Saskatchewan Victim Services Branch, the following services are supported:
- Police Based Victim Services
- Services for Aboriginal Families
- Community Based Specialized Programs
- Victim/Witness Services
- Children Exposed to Violence Programs
- Victim Impact Statement Program
- Victims Compensation Program
- Restitution Programs
Saskatchewan has the Victims Compensation Program which grants victims compensation for reasonable expenses resulting from criminal acts of personal violence. Compensation can be given towards certain medical costs, counselling, funeral expenses (max of $3,500), and loss of income and clothing damaged as a result of the crime. The total maximum amount that can be awarded is $25,000. To be eligible for this compensation, victims or their family members must apply within two years of the occurrence of the offense.
A new Victims’ Bill of Rights was passed in 2001 in Manitoba, which specifies the rights of victims of serious crimes and actually enshrines those rights in law, and provides an avenue of action if they are not afforded (something that no other province has). The act outlines rights such as the right to receive information about their case at various levels of the CJS, the right to have a certain amount of time off from employment, and the rights to be given information and access to victim services. Manitoba is also able to collect surcharges on provincial and federal offenses as a result of this Act, and places the money in the Victims Assistance Fund. The Act outlines how the Fund is to be used, including the development and delivery of services and information to victims.
The Manitoba Justice Victim Services Branch, part of the Criminal Justice Division, is divided into specialty units, and the type of crime determines which unit will provide its services. In general, Victim Services helps victims to access their rights and understand their responsibilities, as well as connecting them to other agencies and services in their community. Manitoba Victim Services also administers the following:
- Victims Rights Support Service
- Child Victim Support Service
- Domestic Violence Support Service
- The Cell Phone Emergency Link-Up Program
- The Domestic violence Intervention Unit
- The Compensation Program for Victims of Crime
- The Victim/Witness Assistance Program
- And also offers an overview Victim Impact Statement
As of March 31, 2010, of the 15 victim service providers in Manitoba that completed the Questionnaire, nine of them were system based, five were police based and one was court based.
In Manitoba, victims can apply for compensation under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program. Compensation is provided to victims who suffer personal injury, hardships or expenses as a result of certain crimes. A list of these crimes can be found under the Victims Rights’ Regulations in the Victims Bill of Rights Act. Compensation can also be provided to families and dependents of victims who have died as a result of a crime. Compensation can be given for payment of medical expenses, replacement of damaged clothing/items seized by police as evidence, dental treatment, repair/replacement of eyeglasses, payment for counselling sessions, compensation for lost wages for victims who’ve been disabled or for dependants of victims that were fatally injured, support payments for dependents, funeral costs, compensation for permanent disability and payment for rehabilitation. The maximum amount available for victim is $100,000, but victims must apply within one year of the occurrence of the crime.
In Ontario, the Victims Bill of Rights was proclaimed in 1996. This bill includes a set of principles regarding how victims should be treated, and the types of information they are entitled to. The Act also created an Office for Victims of Crime, which advises the Attorney General on different aspects of victim policy, including ways to ensure that the principles set out in the Act are respected, on the development and maintenance of provincial standards for services for victims, and on the use of the Victims’ Justice Fund, which is funded through the collection of victim surcharges on provincial and federal offenses. A separate act, the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, governs the eligibility of victims to receive compensation in Ontario.
In Ontario, many services are supported by the Ontario Victims Service Secretariat (OVSS), a division of the Ministry of the Attorney General that works to ensure that victims are treated with respect and receive the information and services they need. These services include:
- Victims Support Line
- Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral System
- Victim Quick Response Program
- Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centers
- Victim/Witness Assistance Program
- Vulnerable Victims and Family Fund
- Child Victim/Witness Program
- Internet Child Exploitation Counselling Program
- Domestic Violence Court Program
- Partner Assault Response Program
- Financial Assistance for Families of Homicide Victims Program
- Family Court Support Worker Program
Furthermore, as of March 31, 2010, among the victim services that participated in the Questionnaire, 81 were sexual assault centres, 66 were court based, 55 were Victim Crime Assistance and Referral Centres, 16 were community based and 14 were police based.
In Ontario there are two main ways for victims to get help with their expenses. The first is through the Victim Quick Response Program, which is available to victims of serious, violent crimes. Through this program, victims with immediate, short term counselling needs, funeral expenses, or emergency child care or transportation may be able to receive coverage for such expenses; however, the victim must apply within 14 days of the incident occurring. A second way victims can gain compensation for injuries suffered as a result of a crime is through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB). The Board can provide compensation for medical, dental and therapy costs, funeral costs, loss of wages where total/partial disability affects the victim’s ability to work (up to a maximum of $50 a day or $250 per week), financial losses to dependents of deceased victims, for pain and suffering, as well as other expenses. The maximum amount that can be awarded to a victim by the CICB is a total of $25,000. When more than one person is injured by a crime, the maximum that can be awarded to all claimants is a cumulative amount of $150,000. Sometimes, monthly payments can be made, to a maximum amount of $1,000/month. These periodic payments cannot exceed a total of $365,000. Victims must apply within two years of the date of the crime to be eligible.
In Quebec, the Act Respecting Assistance for Victims of Crime was established in 1988 to provide guidelines for how victims and their immediate family members should be treated following a crime. Under this Act, an office for victims, the Bureau d’Aide aux Victimes d’Actes Criminels, was created to further support, advocate, and develop policy for victims. Also, like so many other provinces, a fund was created (Fonds d’Aide aux Victimes d’Actes Criminels) to assist victim services in the delivery of their programs. A separate Act, the Crime Victims Compensation Act, provides an avenue for victims to receive financial compensation and assistance for costs related to their victimization.
In Quebec, Crime Victim’s Assistance Centers (CAVAC’s), offer front line services to victims of crime and their immediate families, as well as to witnesses of crime. They provide assistance to victims regardless of whether the perpetrator has been identified, caught or convicted. They work closely with the justice community, the health and social services network, and community organizations. The types of services they provide include counselling, support, referrals, assistance with applying for compensation, post traumatic shock intervention, and other psycho-socio-legal support.
In addition, the province of Quebec also funds Domestic Violence Hotlines (S.O.S. violence conjugale), shelters and assistance centers for women who are victims of domestic violence, assistance centers for victims of sexual assault (CALACs), and the Trauma Studies Center (TSC). As of March 31, 2010, among the victim services that participated in the Questionnaire, 71 were community based, 13 were sexual assault centres and five were police based.
A person, who is physically or mentally injured because of a criminal offense, including direct victims and the family members of deceased victims, may receive compensation. The amount of compensation awarded is dependent upon the victim’s income. However, $2,000 in reparation is given to parents of a minor child who dies as a result of crime, and funeral expenses are reimbursed up to $3,000. Victims who are injured, killed or incur property damage as a result of helping a police officer, arresting or attempting to arrest an offender, or preventing or attempting to prevent an offense are eligible for up to $1000 in compensation. Victims must apply within one year of the crime occurring to be eligible for compensation.
In New Brunswick, the Victim Services Act was enacted in 1987, and laid out provisions regarding the treatment of victims, such as treating them with dignity and respect, ensuring that they have a proper place in criminal justice proceedings, and making sure they receive the necessary information about their case. Out of this Act, the Victims Services Fund also emerged, which is used to fund such things as the promotion and delivery of victim services, financial compensation for victims, research into the needs and concerns of victims, and the distribution of information related to victim services, needs and concerns.
According to Statistics Canada, as of March 31, 2010, among the 21 services that participated in the Questionnaire, 13 were system based, five were police based, one was community based, one was a sexual assault center, and one was classified as other.
Some of the programs that the provincial Victim Services Program in New Brunswick offer includes:
- Trauma and Short Term Counselling
- Court Preparation and Support
- Follow-up After Court Process
- Assisting in Preparing a Victim Impact Statement
- Sentence de-briefing
- Assistance with registering with Correctional Service of Canada or Parole Board of Canada Victim Services
In New Brunswick if a victim has suffered personal injury or loss as a result of crime they can apply for compensation through the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program. Eligible expenses include funeral costs, counselling, transportation, medical expenses, as well as others that can be found in New Brunswick Regulation 96-81 under the Victim Services Act. The maximum amount that can be awarded to victims is dependant on the type of compensation sought, for example, the maximum amount for funeral expenses is $8000, where the maximum amount for counselling expenses is $2000. You must be a victim of crime, a parent/guardian acting on behalf of a child victim of crime, or the next of kin of any other person that principally incurs eligible expenses in relation to a deceased victim of crime in order to apply for compensation. You must apply within one year of the date of the offense.
In Nova Scotia, the Victims’ Rights and Services Act was introduced in 1989. Like many other provinces, this legislation outlines how victims are to be treated, what resources and information they should be given, and establishes a fund that may be used to promote the delivery of services and access to information for victims. The Compensation for Victims of Crime Act governs who is eligible for compensation, and sets regulations for the amount of coverage available.
In Nova Scotia, Victim Services are overseen by the Department of Justice. Some types of victim service programs that are offered include the Provincial Victim Services Program, the Child Victim/Witness Program, the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program and the Victim Impact Statement Program. These services are delivered by the regional offices and can also provide general information on the CJS, information on a victim’s case, help victims to get in contact with the police, or refer to other agencies. As of March 31, 2010, among the 16 services that participated in the Questionnaire, eight were police based, five were system based, one was community based, one was a sexual assault centre, and one was a financial benefits program.
Nova Scotia does not have a traditional compensation program. Instead they have the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program, which provides financial assistance for victims to receive compensation for professional counselling services only. The maximum amount of financial assistance for counselling individual victims can receive is $2,000. Extended family may be eligible for up to a total of $4,000 for counselling services if they are needed. Victims must apply within one year of the date of the crime.
Prince Edward Island
In Prince Edward Island, the Victims of Crime Act came into effect on September 30, 1989. This Act outlines a set of principles that should be followed when law enforcement and criminal justice personnel are interacting with victims, including treating victims with respect and dignity, and providing them with information about the services available to them. The act also established the Victim Services Advisory Committee, which works to ensure that any new or existing provincial policy or legislation pertaining to victims will promote the principles of the Act and will benefit victims. Furthermore, the Act also established the provincial Victim Assistance Fund and sets out regulations pertaining to victim compensation.
The Victim Services Program of PEI assists victims as needed throughout their contacts with the CJS, and helps victims to access other needed services, to receive applications for criminal injuries compensation, investigate claims on behalf of the Minister, assists with the preparation and filing of victim impact statements, assists justice personnel and community agencies in providing services to victims, and promotes the Statement of Principles in the Victims of Crime Act. As of March 31, 2010 there were three victim service providers in P.E.I who completed the Questionnaire; two are system based and one is a sexual assault centre.
In P.E.I., criminal injuries compensation is available to victims of violent crime, as well as individuals whose parent or dependant was killed as a result of a violent crime. Compensation can be given for wages/salary lost because of injury or death, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, maintenance of a child born as a result of rape, medical/dental expenses, and other reasonable expenses (except for property damage or loss). The maximum amount that can be awarded to one victim is $15,000 or $30,000 per incident where there is more than one victim. Victims must apply within one year of the crime occurring.
Newfoundland and Labrador
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Victims of Crime Services Act was enacted in 1990, and put into place a set of principles regarding the treatment of victims in the CJS, recognizing that they deserved to be treated with courtesy, compassion, and respect and dignity, that they should suffer a minimum amount of inconvenience by the CJS, and that they should receive prompt and fair redress. This Act also provides for a Victims of Crime Services Division, which works to ensure that the regulations and principles of the Act are followed as closely as possible.
The Provincial Victim Services Program (part of the Victims of Crime Service Division) currently has eleven professionally staffed regional offices throughout the province. Generally, adults over the age of sixteen that have been victims of crime who are currently living in Newfoundland and Labrador are eligible to use these services, with priority given to victims of violent crime. However, in 2005 the Minister of Justice expanded Victim Services to include services to children who would be testifying in criminal justice proceedings. Some programs that are offered by this service include the Professional Services Program, Victim Impact Statement Program, Victim Assistance Program, the Victim Legal Fund and the Victim Liaison Officers Program. These services are offered voluntarily and are free of charge to those who have been victimized, regardless of whether a complaint has been made or a charge has been laid. These services can provide general information on the CJS, updated information on how a victim’s case is going, pre-court preparation, help in preparing a Victim Impact Statement, help in referring a victim to specialized community resources, emotional support and short term counselling. Across Newfoundland and Labrador, there were 13 victim service providers as of March 31, 2010 who completed the Questionnaire; 12 of them were system based and one was a sexual assault centre.
Unfortunately, there is no formal compensation program in Newfoundland at this time. However, the provincial Victim Services Program can offer some financial assistance for counselling services and transportation costs as part of their program.
In the Yukon, the Victims of Crime Act became law in 2011, and outlined the victims’ right to information, to have their views considered, to have their property returned, and to have their needs, concerns and diversity considered, within reasonable limits. The Bill also continued the implementation of a Director of Victim Services, who helps to ensure that victim services are developed and enhanced, and that victim’s concerns are investigated and responded to. Furthermore, under the Crime Prevention and Victim Services Trust Act, money obtained from offender fines, victim surcharges, donations received by the Yukon Government for purposes relating to victims, and other provided for monies are placed in a Fund for Victim Service providers to access and use to better the programs and resources available to victims.
Victim Services, under the Department of Justice in the Yukon has 3 locations (Whitehorse, Dawson City, and Watson Lake). This service can offer support services and professional help to victims of crime and abuse, in addition to providing court accompaniment, assistance with victim impact statements, and assistance with filling out and filing legal documents. As of March 31, 2010, among the four services that participated in the Questionnaire, three were system based and one was court based.
Unfortunately there is no victim compensation program in the Yukon at this time.
The Northwest Territories enacted the Victims of Crime Act, which came into force in 1989, and put in place a Victim’s Assistance Committee. The Committee is charged with ensuring that the treatment of victims and the development of programs within the justice system and the community in the NWT are in line with the principles outlined in the Act. The Act also established a Victims Assistance Fund, in which money from victim surcharges and offender fines can be accessed by victim service providers and the Victim’s Assistance Committee, to promote the delivery of services, research into victim concerns and needs, or the dissemination of information about victim services into the community.
With money from the Victims Assistance Fund, the NWT Department of Justice contributes financially to ongoing community based victim service programs that provide direct service to victims. Victim Service Workers can help victims with things like safety planning and completing Victim Impact Statements. They also have a territorial Victim Notification Program which allows victims to receive information on an offender that has committed a crime against them. As of January 8, 2010, Department of Justice Victim Services branches can be found in the following communities: Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Simpson, Fort Good Hope, Fort Smith, Aklavik, Paulatuk and Behchoko. Inuit Victim Services offer outreach services to Sachs Harbour and workers that are in the Tlicho region provide services to Wekweeti, Gameti and Whati. As of March 31, 2010, among the two services that participated in the Questionnaire, one was court based and one was community based.
Unfortunately there is no compensation program in the Northwest Territories at this time. However, there is a Victims of Crime Emergency Fund, which can cover costs associated with short term immediate counselling, crime scene clean up, emergency home repair for immediate safety, emergency accommodation, emergency child care costs, medical expenses and other emergency items for victims of serious violent crimes. To be eligible, the victim must be a resident of the NWT, the crime must have occurred in the NWT, there must be an immediate need for emergency funds, the victim must not have received funding from the VCEF for the same offense in the past, the crime must have occurred after September 1, 2008, and the received funds must be spent in the NWT. Victim must also apply within 2 months of the date of the criminal offense taking place.
Victim Legislation in Nunavut was adopted from the Victims of Crime Act of the NWT after it became its own territory in 1999. The provisions of the legislation in Nunavut are identical to those of the NWT legislation (please see above).
Through the Office of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Crown Witness Coordinators travel the territory to work with and maintain contact with victims or witnesses throughout the court process. Community-based organizations provide direct services including information, support, practical assistance, court orientation and accompaniment and referrals. These organizations receive contribution funding through the Government of Nunavut Department of Justice, Community Justice Division. As of March 31, 2010, among the two services that participated in the Questionnaire, both services were community based.
Unfortunately Nunavut does not have a victim compensation program at this time.
Federal Victim Services
Policy Center for Victim Issues – Department of Justice
The Policy Center for Victim Issues at the Department of Justice works towards giving victims an effective voice in the CJS. They do this by:
- Helping victims and their families understand their role in the CJS
- Making them aware of services and assistance that is available to them
- Ensuring the perspectives of victims are taken into account when federal laws and policy are developed, and
- Increasing awareness in Canada and internationally about the needs of victims of crimes
- The PCVI administers the federal Victim’s Fund, which is available to organizations and agencies to access for projects related to victim issues, child advocacy centers, Canadians victimized abroad, and for victims to attend parole board hearings. The PCVI also helps victims to locate services in their region and to find information via their victim services directory, National Victims of Crime Awareness Week events, and through their publications
The Parole Board of Canada (PBC)
Victims can register with the Parole Board of Canada to receive information on their offender. Once they are registered, the PBC will provide the victim with the offender’s name, offense and level of court the offender was prosecuted in, sentence start date and length, and the offender’s eligibility and review dates for parole (as is set out in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act). The Parole Board must allow victims to present victim statements at any of their offender’s parole hearings, and will make available information and guidelines about how to do so.
If you are not a direct victim, but would still like to receive information about a decision made in a certain offender’s case, the PBC also has a registry in which it is possible to request such information.
There are also Regional Communications Officers who respond to questions from victims, observers and those requesting decisions relating to the PBC. Before the hearing, they also arrange for waiting areas for the victim and their support person that are separate from the offender and their assistant. They also explain the hearing process to the victim, accompany the victim to the hearing, and then explain the decision after the hearing and what may happen next.
Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)
The Correctional Service of Canada implemented the National Victim Services Program in 2007. The Victim Services Officers within this program are responsible for registering victims of federal offenders, providing victim notification, receiving victim statements, providing referrals and answering questions about CSC. Like the PBC, the information that can be disclosed to victims by CSC is dictated in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. CSC also offers victim-offender mediation, a process that is completely voluntary for victims to participate in.
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) was created in 2007 to ensure that the federal government meets its responsibilities to victims of crime. The current Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime is Sue O’Sullivan. The office focuses exclusively on matters within federal responsibility and is responsible for:
- Promoting access by victims to existing federal programs and services for victims
- Addressing complaints of victims about the compliance with the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release act that apply to victims of crimes committed under federal jurisdiction
- Promoting awareness of the needs of victims and laws that benefit victims of crime, including promotion of the principles set out in the Canadian Statement for Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime with respect to matters of federal jurisdiction
- Identifying and review systematic issues, such as issues pertaining to services and programs that are administered by the Department of Justice
- Facilitating access by victims to existing federal services and programs by providing them with referrals.
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Last updated: 2012-07-19
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