Multi-Site Survey of Victims of Crime and Criminal Justice Professionals across Canada: Summary of Probation Officer, Corrections, and Parole Board Respondents
Victim safety is an important consideration at all stages of the criminal justice process, including probation. Respondents to the probation survey were asked several questions about victim safety at this stage. More than two-thirds of probation officers (68%) reported that they generally recommend in pre-sentence reports that conditions for the victim's safety be placed on the offender. Approximately one-third said that they usually speak to victims who know the offender when preparing pre-sentence reports and a similar proportion said that they speak to all victims.
To ensure that conditions of probation are followed, at least half of respondents reported that they conduct collateral checks or monitor the offender directly; one-quarter said that they consult the victim about any breaches of conditions; and about one-tenth monitor criminal justice information systems and databases. Twenty-eight percent simply said that they verify compliance with probation conditions but did not explain specifically how this is done. Table 15 provides complete results.
|Ways of ensuring conditions are followed:||Probation (N=206)|
|Collateral contacts or checks||58%|
|Direct monitoring of offender||50%|
|Verify compliance with probation conditions||28%|
|Consult with victim about any breach of conditions||25%|
|Monitor criminal justice system information or databases||11%|
Note: Respondents could provide more than one response; total sums to more than 100%.
When asked whether most victims participate in various aspects of the correctional process, overall the main finding is that victims either do not participate or participate only in serious cases. NPB respondents reported the highest level of victim participation in the area of requesting information about the offender's parole eligibility and hearing; almost half said that most victims request this information in either most cases (27%) or only in serious cases (22%). For the remaining types of participation providing new or additional information for use in conditional release, attending parole board hearings as observers, or presenting the statement in person or via audio or videotape about one-third of NPB respondents reported that most victims participate only in serious cases. Few reported that most victims participate in most cases. CSC respondents perceive an even lower level of participation than NPB respondents in these areas.
Few provincial parole board respondents believe that victims generally participate. Even in serious cases, less than one-third reported that most victims participate. Table 16 below provides the complete results.
About three-quarters of the national (73%) and provincial (77%) parole board respondents and 86% of CSC respondents believe that there are obstacles to victim participation in the parole or correctional process.  The main barriers cited by NPB and CSC respondents are the lack of funding to assist victims who want to attend parole board hearings, and the lack of victim awareness of ways in which they can participate in the parole process and of the support services available. CSC respondents also emphasize that support services for victims in the parole process are insufficient. Provincial parole board respondents perceive lack of funding for victims to attend parole hearings as less of an obstacle. Instead, they consider the lack of victim awareness of their opportunities for participation and the support services available, insufficient support services, and lack of victim knowledge of when applications are required as the primary obstacles to victim participation. See Table 17 for the complete results.
|Obstacles:||National Parole Board (n=62)||Correctional Service Canada (n=25)||Provincial parole board (n=17)|
|Lack of funding for victims who want to attend hearings||76%||68%||35%|
|Victims are not aware of the ways they can participate||69%||76%||94%|
|Victims are unaware of support services available||61%||56%||65%|
|Support services for victims are insufficient||48%||60%||71%|
|Victims do not know when an application is required||42%||48%||65%|
|Distance, travel or transportation||11%||12%||--|
|Fear or intimidation and/or unwillingness to face offender||5%||16%||12%|
Note: Respondents could provide more than one response; totals sum to more than 100%.
 National and provincial parole board respondents were only asked about the parole process, and CSC respondents were asked about the correctional or parole process.
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