L-R: Chief Broadbent, Chief Crocker, Whitney|
McWilliam, Karen Vecchio, Ken Walters, Terra Pieters,
Natalie Redman, Mayor Heather Jackson, Chief Pinnell,
Inspector Fishleigh, Sergeant Novacich, and
Staff Sergeant Dafoe.
Victims Week 2014 is being held across Canada from April 6th to 12th with the theme
"Taking Action". Victims Week raises awareness about issues facing victims of crime
and the services, programs and laws in place to help victims and their families.
It follows the historic introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims
Bill of Rights. Representatives MP Joe Preston and MPP Jeff Yurek attended a local
community event for the ninth annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (Victims
Joined by top law enforcement officials, and others, Mayor Heather Jackson proclaimed
National Victims of Crime Awareness Week in St. Thomas today at City Hall. The Mayoral
Proclamation and Flag Raising ceremony was hosted by Victim Services Elgin. Victim
Services Elgin assists victims of crime and tragic circumstances in Elgin County
through a program called the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (VCARS).
It is a community response program that provides a variety of immediate and short-term
crisis intervention services. Emotional support, practical assistance, safety planning,
and appropriate referrals to community resources are a few of the services offered.
Last week, the Federal Government took action to give victims a more effective voice
in the criminal justice system by introducing legislation to create a Canadian Victims
Bill of Rights. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights would transform the criminal
justice system by entrenching rights at the federal level for victims of crime for
the first time in Canadian history. An online version of the legislation can be
found at www.parl.gc.ca.
* Through the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered
by the Department of Justice Canada, victim-serving organizations were provided
with up to $10,000 in funding to host events during Victims Week. This year, more
than 180 events and projects will be held across the country, with a federal government
investment of more than $1.2 million.
* By introducing legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights,
the Federal Government is delivering on a commitment from the 2013 Speech from the
Throne, a commitment that was reinforced in Budget 2014. The legislation is also
in line with the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which focuses
on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing
the efficiency of our justice system.
"Victims Week is also a time to acknowledge the work of victim service providers
and their dedication to assisting victims of crime. The National Victims of Crime
Awareness Week's theme is 'Taking Action' which is fitting as Victim Services Elgin
will be hosting an event for their Crisis Responders who give countless hours of
their time to assist victims and their families. We will be thanking them for Taking
Action." - Terra Pieters, Assistant Manager at Victim Services Elgin
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Announces Historic Legislation to Create a Canadian
Victims Bill of Rights
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the introduction of legislation to
create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would transform the criminal justice
system by creating, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime - a
first in Canadian history. The Prime Minister was joined by Peter MacKay, Minister
of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Steven Blaney, Minister of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
During consultations held by the federal Government over the past year, many victims
of crime shared stories of their interactions with the criminal justice system.
Many participants expressed a desire for victims of crime to be kept better informed
and involved at every stage of the justice process, and called for an increased
understanding of the needs of victims.
Our Government is delivering on its commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne
to introduce a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, a commitment reiterated in Budget
2014. The legislation is part of our Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities,
which focuses on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of
victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system.
The legislation would create the following statutory rights for victims of crime:
Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information
about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as
well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information
relating to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed
Right to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security
and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable
and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to
request their identity be protected from public disclosure.
Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views
about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered
at various stages of the criminal justice process, and to present a victim impact
Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider
making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate
* The Government will provide dedicated funding to support the implementation
of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights through existing resources as well as the
allocation of new federal resources.
* A study released in 2011 by the Department of Justice Canada found that
the total cost of crime is an estimated $99.6 billion a year - 83 per cent of which
is borne by victims.
* According to Statistics Canada, nearly 2 million criminal incidents were
reported to Canadian police services in 2012.
* All provinces and territories have legislation for victims of crime and
currently manage successful victims' services programs in their own jurisdictions.
"Our Government is proud to be rebalancing the scales of Canadian justice to ensure
that innocent victims of crime have clear rights in our system. The new legislation
being introduced in Parliament today aims to ensure that victims are at the heart
of our judicial system and that they have the right to information, to protection,
to participation and to restitution," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "Our Government
wants victims of crime across this country to know that we have listened to their
concerns and that we are squarely on their side. Victims will have enforceable rights
in Canada's criminal justice system, will be treated with the respect and fairness
that they deserve, and will have a stronger voice."