Victim’s right to participation

Victims have the right to present victim impact statements and have them considered. Victims’ views about decisions that affect their rights will also need to be considered.

Changes to Laws

Right to participation

Victims have been provided with more meaningful participation in the criminal justice system through changes that:

  • require judges to include in records of bail proceedings that they have considered the victim’s safety and security;
  • add the acknowledgement of harm done to victims and the community as a sentencing objective under the Criminal Code;
  • allow victims to use a testimonial aid when they present their victim impact statement in court;
  • allow victims to bring a photo of the victim to court while giving their victim impact statement;
  • provide a standard form for victim and community impact statements to ensure consistency in how victims describe to the court the impact the crime had on them, including any physical or emotional harm, property damage, or financial loss; and
  • allow victims to include a picture or a drawing in their victim impact statement if this helps them to better express the impact the crime had on them.

An optional form for victim impact statements can also be used by a Review Board when making a decision about an accused person found to be not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

These rights are available to victims as of July 23, 2015 (90 days after Royal Assent to the Victims Bill of Rights Act).

Federal Corrections and Conditional Release

Victims have been provided with more meaningful participation in the corrections and conditional release system, including:

  • the ability to designate a person to represent them to receive information on their behalf; and
  • the ability to waive access to information about the offender who harmed them from the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada should they so choose.

If they are unable to attend a parole hearing, victims will also have the ability to listen to an audio recording of the hearing.

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