Responding to the Needs of Victims of Crime
POLICY CENTRE FOR VICTIM ISSUES — WHO WE ARE
The Policy Centre for Victim Issues at the Department of Justice Canada helps ensure that the perspectives of victims will be fully considered when relevant federal laws and policy are developed.
The Department established the Policy Centre in 2000, in response to the parliamentary report Victims Rights — A Voice Not a Veto. This report called for the development of both a victims of crime strategy and an office to respond to victims issues within federal jurisdiction.
The Policy Centre for Victim Issues is mandated to increase the confidence of victims of crime in the criminal justice system. Key objectives include:
- ensuring victims are aware of their role in the criminal justice system and the laws, services and assistance applicable to them;
- increasing overall awareness about the needs of victims of crime and effective approaches in Canada and internationally;
- improving the ability of the Department of Justice to develop laws and policy that take into consideration the perspectives of victims.
The Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime, jointly endorsed by Federal, Provincial, Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice in 1988, continues to guide the development of policies, programs and legislation related to victims of crime. It provides a foundation for the Policy Centre’s work.
SHARED JURISDICTION, SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
Addressing the needs and concerns of victims is a shared responsibility. The Policy Centre for Victim Issues works closely with the provinces and territories, encouraging and supporting a series of activities in partnership.
POLICY CENTRE FOR VICTIM ISSUES — WHAT WE DO
The Policy Centre for Victim Issues engages in a number of activities to improve our understanding of the evolving needs of victims of crime, and to increase victim confidence in the criminal justice system. These activities include:
- acting as a “victim’s lens” for federal laws and activities that impact victims of crime, which includes analyzing potential criminal law reforms and considering options for new legislation;
- researching victim-related issues in areas such as the effects of legislative reforms (e.g. victim impact statements), best practices in victim service delivery, and emerging issues such as restorative justice;
- administering the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions fund for projects that raise awareness and enhance services and assistance to victims of crime across Canada;
- providing public legal education and information about the role of victims in the criminal justice system and related legislation, through fact sheets, pamphlets, handbooks, and the Policy Centre’s Web site;
- working closely with other federal departments that share an interest in responding to the concerns of victims of crime (e.g. National Parole Board, Correctional Service Canada);
- consulting with a broad range of stakeholders, including those who deliver services to victims of crime, to share knowledge and expertise.
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