Help Is Available
Have you or someone you know recently been the victim of a crime?
As difficult as it can be to talk about, it is important to know what supports are available to you as a victim. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights recognizes the rights of victims of crimes committed and prosecuted in Canada. It aims to better protect the rights or victims of crime while providing them with increased support during their contact with the criminal justice system.
Anyone who suffers from physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss as a result of a crime is entitled to certain supports. These are available while an offence is being investigated and prosecuted, and while the offender is going through the corrections process.
In Canada, victims have the right to information, protection, participation, and restitution. This means that victims will have the right to be informed about the progress of their case, to be protected from intimidation and retaliation, to participate in the proceedings to the extent they wish, and to receive restitution where appropriate.
If these rights are not respected, they have the right to make a complaint to the Victims Bill of Rights Commissioner. With this information, the Commissioner can make recommendations on how to improve the system.
Victims also have the right to request information about their case and the process of the criminal justice system, including available victim services and programs, the status and outcome of the investigation or criminal proceedings, and information about the release of the offender.
These resources are a significant step towards ensuring that victims are treated with the fairness, dignity, and respect they deserve. I encourage anyone who is a victim of a crime to educate themselves on their rights and the resources available to them at www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/victims.html.