Financial Assistance for Canadians Victimized Abroad
The Federal Victims Strategy consolidates all federal government work related to victims of crime into one objective: to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.
The Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, and/or increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families. The Fund does not provide criminal injuries compensation for victims of crime.
Who is eligible?
Canadians who have been the victim of a serious violent crime in a foreign country may be eligible for financial assistance through the Victims Fund. As of April 1, 2007, financial assistance is available to individual Canadians who are victims of specified serious violent crimes in a foreign jurisdiction for serious situations of undue hardship where no other source of financial assistance is available.
Who can apply for this funding?
Any Canadian may apply to the Victims Fund for financial assistance if he or she is:
- the victim of a serious violent crime in a foreign jurisdiction;
- a family member of a victim who is dead, ill or incapacitated due to their victimization in a foreign jurisdiction; or
- in the case of a child, a parent or the person responsible for the care and support of the child.
Financial assistance may be available in the case of the following crimes committed in a foreign jurisdiction:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated assault
- Assault with serious personal violence, including against a child.
The objectives of the Victims Fund are to:
- promote access to justice and participation by victims in the justice system;
- promote the development of law, policies and programs for victims;
- promote the implementation of principles, guidelines and laws designed to address the needs of victims of crime and articulate the victim's role in the criminal justice system;
- increase knowledge and awareness of the impact of victimization, the needs of victims of crime, available services, assistance and programs, and relevant legislation;
- encourage governmental and non-governmental organizations to identify victim needs and gaps in services, and develop and deliver programs, services and assistance to victims; and,
- promote capacity-building within non-governmental organizations.
The Victims Fund may help cover the following expenses where the victim has no other source of financial assistance:
- travel expenses to return to the country where the crime occurred in order to attend the preliminary hearing and/or the trial or equivalent process;
- travel expenses to return to the country where the crime occurred in order to testify at the preliminary hearing and/or trial if the host country is unwilling or unable to pay;
- travel expenses for a support person to be with a Canadian victimized abroad, during the immediate aftermath of the crime;
- expenses for a Canadian victim of crime to return to Canada.
The Victims Fund may help cover the following types of expenses where the victim has no other source of financial assistance, up to a maximum of $10,000:
- Hospital and medical expenses due to being victimized;
- Expenses to replace stolen official documents;
- Upon return to Canada, financial assistance for professional counselling;
- Funeral expenses if the crime resulted in the death of the victim; and/or
- out-of-pocket expenses due to being a victim of a violent crime.
Canadians are also eligible to receive consular services while outside of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada. To find out the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate visit:
Points to Consider
What expenses are not covered by the Victims Fund?
The Victims Fund does not cover:
- expenses covered by the applicant's medical insurance or travel insurance;
- lost wages;
- compensation costs;
- legal fees;
- losses incurred due to the victim's own criminal behaviour; or,
- expenses incurred for crimes that took place before April 1, 2007.
How to Apply for Funding
Step 1: Report the crime to the Canadian Embassy or Consulate
A Canadian who becomes a victim of a serious violent crime in a foreign jurisdiction should immediately attempt to report the crime to the local Canadian Embassy or Consulate. The primary concern of the Embassy or Consulate staff is the victim's personal and physical safety. Consular staff can assist with arranging help in a medical emergency; provide guidance on sources of information about local laws and regulations; contact next of kin, where authorized, in the event of an accident or death; and request that local authorities investigate suspicious circumstances in the event of an alleged or apparent crime or death. Consular staff should notify the Victims Fund Manager that a victim may be applying for financial assistance.
Step 2: Contact local police
If possible, a Canadian victimized abroad should contact local police to report the incident and obtain immediate help with safety concerns. It is a good idea to request a copy of the police report. The police report serves a number of purposes. It may provide the victim with contact information, and it may be required for insurance purposes at a later date or for provincial compensation for criminal injuries.
A copy of the police report, where available, should accompany the Application for Financial Assistance from the Victims Fund.
Step 3: Apply to the Department of Justice for Financial Assistance
A Canadian victimized abroad may apply for funding by completing the Application Form.
The application form may also be obtained by contacting the Victims Fund Manager:
- By phone at: 1-888-606-5111
- By email at: Victims-Abroad-Fund-Manager@justice.gc.ca
- By Fax at: (613) 941-2269
- By writing at:
Victims Fund Manager
Department of Justice
284 Wellington Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Applications may be sent electronically, by fax or by mail.
Applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility for funding. Decisions on the eligibility of an applicant and the amount of funding are made as soon as possible after a properly completed application is received. Applicants are advised by letter of the decision, including confirmation of the expenses that will be covered.
The Department of Justice encourages applicants to submit proposals electronically. If you submit your application on paper, please consider printing on both sides of the paper. These actions will minimize environmental impacts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if two or more Canadians travelling together are victimized?
A separate application is required for each victim who seeks funding.
Publications and Resources
Helpful Federal Government Links:
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Canadian Embassies or Consulates
- Travel Canada
- Correctional Service of Canada, Victim Services
- Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
- Health Canada (National Clearinghouse on Family Violence)
- Parole Board of Canada (Victims of Crime)
- Public Safety Canada (National Office for Victims)
Helpful Provincial / Territorial Government Links:
- British Columbia
- Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (Victim Services):
- Crime Victim Assistance Program (Financial Assistance)
- VictimLINK: 1-800-563-0808
- Manitoba Justice Victims of Crime (Victim Services)
- Compensation for Victims of Crime Program (Financial Assistance)
- New Brunswick
- Department of Public Safety Victim Services Program
- Compensation for Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance)
- Newfoundland & Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotia Department of Justice Victim Services
- Criminal Injuries Counselling Program (Financial Assistance)
- Ministry of the Attorney General (Victim Services)
- The Criminal Injuries Compensation(Financial Assistance)
- Office for Victims of Crime
- Victim Support Line: 1-888-579-2888 toll free (or in Toronto , 1-416-314-2447)
- Prince Edward Island
- Office of the Attorney General and Public Safety (Victim Services)
- Criminal Injuries Compensation (Financial Assistance)
- Justice Québec Victims of Crime (Victim Services)
- Crime Victims Compensation Act (Financial Assistance)
- Crime Victims Assistance Centre: 1-866-532-2822
- Saskatchewan Justice Victims Services Program
- Saskatchewan Justice Victims Services Compensation (Financial Assistance)
- Northwest Territories
Where is more information available?
For more information on how to apply for financial assistance if you have been a victim of crime while abroad:
Canadians Victimized Abroad/Financial Assistance:
Victims Abroad Fund Manager
Programs Branch, Department of Justice
284 Wellington Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0H8
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