Federal Victims Strategy Evaluation, Final Report

Project Title: Evaluation of the Federal Victims Strategy

Responsibility Centre: Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI), Criminal Law Policy Section

Conclusions Recommendations Management Response Action Plan Responsible Manager
Planned Implementation Date
The evaluation findings suggest that a lack of flexibility in the budget for some Victims Fund projects is a challenge for recipient organizations. This applies both to budgets of individual projects (i.e. flexibility to move funding between line items if one turns out to cost more, e.g. translation) and flexibility to move funding between programs such as the Victims Impact Statement Travel Fund and Victim of Crime Emergency Fund. Additionally, the funding guidelines may be too specific and may not reflect the demand or needs that exist in different regions. 1. The PCVI should explore opportunities in terms of allowing for more flexibility in project spending when appropriate, or multipurpose funding (e.g. one fund which could be used for either emergency assistance or Victim Impact Statement travel) particularly for smaller jurisdictions, when renewing the Terms and Conditions of the Victims Fund. Exploring possibilities for enabling funding to be better tailored to the needs of different jurisdictions is also recommended. Agreed. The PCVI is exploring ways to build more flexibility into the Victims Fund which will allow recipient organizations the ability to meet demands and challenges in a more responsive manner that is reflective of their particular region. When PCVI seeks renewal of the Federal Victims Strategy and the Victims Fund in 2011, all authorities currently administered by PCVI will be consolidated including the Victims of Crime Initiative, the Federal Victims Strategy, funding for travel to Parole Board Hearings, funding for culturally sensitive victim services for the families of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and funding for child advocacy centers. This consolidation will provide the flexibility, upon renewal of the Federal Victims Strategy, to enter into longer term contribution agreements with provincial and territorial governments which will allow provinces and territories greater opportunity to plan their projects and programs over longer periods of time and with greater flexibility to move funds between particular items in accordance with the specific needs of particular jurisdictions.

After consultations with key stakeholders, PCVI will revise the Victims Fund Terms and Conditions to allow for greater flexibility, for example, to reflect increased costs for capital expenses.
Director and Senior Counsel, PCVI April 2011
Evaluation findings point to a requirement to reduce the administrative burden on recipient organizations and make it more reflective of funding amounts. Provincial, territorial and nongovernment organization funding recipients indicated that when the process (i.e. applying, reporting and evaluating) is long and time consuming, the funding is less attractive, particularly for smaller projects. 2. The PCVI should investigate different riskbased models with respect to the administrative requirements, particularly for small projects, with a view of streamlining application and reporting requirements while still ensuring accountability. Agreed. In the spirit of the Government of Canada Grants and Contributions reform, PCVI is exploring riskbased approaches to the delivery of funds that will be based on dollar amount sought, level of knowledge of the applicant and other appropriate factors such as the type and scope of project. PCVI will review its current Victims Fund application form and adapt its funding review process to reflect a riskbased assessment based on the level of funding requested and the scope of the project. Applying will be made easier for organizations with improved online application forms. PCVI will also explore the possibility of using direct deposit for some recipient organizations.

PCVI will reduce the burden of reporting by linking reports to large contribution agreements rather than requiring smaller project by project reports.

This will be done in compliance with Treasury Board guidelines and directives.
Director and Senior Counsel, PCVI July 2011
Comparisons of program statistics with estimates of the number of eligible victims suggest that there is an underutilization of certain initiatives under the Financial Assistance Component of the Victims Fund. Some key informants identified a lack of awareness among eligible crime victims regarding the available funding as a barrier to the uptake of these funds. This is supported by a benchmarking survey undertaken by the Department in September 2010, which found that a strong majority of Canadians are not aware of victim services (no knowledge at all 42%, a little knowledge 36%). 3. The PCVI should review and make any necessary adjustments to the current outreach/ communications strategy for informing key stakeholders (including victims) about the financial assistance and funding available through the Victims Fund, with a view to increasing takeup and making it a more effective mechanism in improving the experience of victims of crime in the criminal justice system. Agreed. PCVI will review its communications strategy and develop ways to reach more potential recipients.

The Victims Matter awareness campaign has also seen an increase in the number of visits to the corresponding web page and victim services directory.
PCVI has developed an outreach action plan which takes a multipronged approach to reaching more Canadians and potential recipient organizations. PCVI will:
Send a letter to Members of Parliament across Canada making them aware of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week and the Victims Fund.
Make contacts within other government departments to explore opportunities to maximize federal funding.
Create a brochure on PCVI and the Victims Fund which can be distributed at conferences, in public legal education and information material and at targeted locations.
Post two feature stories on interesting Victims Fund projects to include on the PCVI website.
Post a request for proposals on the PCVI website encouraging organizations to apply for funding in the short term and after April 1, 2011.
PCVI will actively seek out partnerships through its existing network of service delivery providers and provincial and territorial governments.
Director and Senior Counsel, PCVI March 2011
The PCVI's human resources did not increase commensurate with the 2007 enhancements to the Strategy. Since the 2007 enhancement, the only addition to the PCVI workforce was two fulltime staff to deliver an additional $8.8M and five new initiatives under the Victims Fund. This has caused an imbalance between the increased expectations for the Strategy and the PCVI's delivery capacity. 4. The PCVI should review its internal structure, including the addition of human resources, to ensure that there is sufficient internal capacity to deliver the Victims Fund. Agreed. PCVI will staff available positions.

In addition, PCVI will work with Programs Branch to adapt its internal Victims Fund application review process to work within staff levels.
PCVI will continue its ongoing discussions with Programs Branch on the administration of the Victims Fund with the goal of gaining efficiencies and avoiding the duplication of effort.

PCVI will complete outstanding staffing and, if funding is received, will staff new positions to meet the expected results of the new Federal Victims Strategy.
Director and Senior Counsel, PCVI December 2011