JustResearch Edition no. 9

Research in Profile (con'td)

Research in Profile (cont'd)

CURRENT AND UPCOMING RESEARCH FROM THE RESEARCH AND STATISTICS DIVISION

GENETIC INFORMATION AND PRIVACY

Contact: Valerie Howe, Senior Research Officer

In response to developments in the area of biotechnology and, in particular, the advent of predictive testing for genetic information, the federal government has established an Interdepartmental Working Group on Genetic Information and Privacy. This working group contributes to the overall federal government effort on biotechnology that is outlined in the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy. The Working Group is led and operated by the Department of Justice Canada. A research program has been developed by the Public Law Policy Group and is being managed by Valerie Howe, Senior Research Officer of the Research and Statistics Division. The policy research undertaken by the Department of Justice Canada for 2002-2003 included documenting both the domestic and international legal frameworks concerning privacy and human rights in order to consider the status of genetic information, its confidentiality, storage, and use. Additional policy research was conducted on the various issues that arise as a result of the increasing ability to access genetic information-including the ability of consumers to buy genetic testing kits directly on the market and the potential for third parties such as insurers or employers to request genetic information from those seeking services or a contract. In addition, the Genetic Futures Forum was organized which brought together a diverse group of experts in different areas to discuss possible future implications of the potential widespread accessibility of this highly sensitive form of information. Research reports will be prepared in the future, and we expect that they will be posted on the website of the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee.

PILOT STUDY: DEVELOPING A METHOD TO REVIEW CLOSED ORGANIZED CRIME CASES (Phase 1)

Contact: Damir Kukec, Senior Statistician

The purpose of this first-time pilot study is to develop a method to undertake a larger file review (Phase 2) of organized crime cases closed prior to the enactment of Bill C-24 and dealt with by the Federal Prosecution Service. In the absence of an organized crime case data element on CASEVIEW (and RIMS), this research project is required to develop an operational definition, which will use existing data variables in CASEVIEW (and RIMS) to identify organized crime cases for further review and analysis. The pilot project will develop an operational definition of an organized crime case, pilot test the proposed operational definition and method by which the data will be collected in the field, analyse the results of the field test (i.e., assess the operational definition and method), and make recommendations concerning the possibility of undertaking the larger file review (Phase 2). We expect this phase to be completed by summer 2003.

NATIONAL YOUTH JUSTICE RESEARCH ADVISORY WORKING GROUP

Contact: Jeff Latimer, Senior Research Officer

Youth Justice Policy ( YJP) within the Department of Justice Canada has the responsibility for the ongoing development and implementation of the Youth Justice Renewal Initiative. Effective implementation is very much dependent on the expertise, support, and collaboration of a wide range of individuals and sectors within both the federal government and the provinces and territories. In partnership with YJP, and in direct response to departmental priorities, the Research and Statistics Division has developed a youth justice research agenda in order to address gaps in our current knowledge base. In order to effectively implement the research agenda, RSD created an informal Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Working Group (AWG).

The AWG was organized to achieve four main goals:

Over the course of this year, results from a number of youth justice research projects will be available from the Division.

THE USE OF PRE-TRIAL DETENTION WITH YOUTH

Contact: Jeff Latimer, Senior Research Officer

This study will provide previously unavailable information on the use of detention by police and the courts in large urban areas in five provinces with a focus on Toronto and Halifax. These sites are particularly appropriate for more intensive investigation of detention practices because of the relatively high detention rates in Ontario and relatively low rates in Nova Scotia. The objectives of this research are:

A CRITICAL REVIEW OF RISK / NEED IN THE YOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Contact: Jeff Latimer, Senior Research Officer

The general purpose of this project is:

This is being accomplished through an extensive literature review as well as interviews with key jurisdictional contacts with experience and/or expertise in the use of risk/need instruments in order to determine:

LEGAL AID RESEARCH RELATED TO IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE LAW

Contact: Austin Lawrence, Research Analyst

Between 2001 and 2003, a joint federal-provincial-territorial program of research in legal aid was undertaken to examine the nature and extent of unmet need in criminal legal aid and to examine selected issues in the delivery of civil legal aid, in particular, legal aid for refugees and immigrants.

Three studies in the program of research addressed issues in immigration and refugee legal aid, with a focus on refugee claimants.

It was found that legal services are available to most refugee claimants across Canada at the most important stages of the refugee determination process, those that relate to "life and liberty." However, there is significant variability in the form of the services offered between particular regions and great variability in the levels of service offered at other stages.

A second major finding is that legal aid plans have little control over many of the cost drivers that affect the demand for legal aid services to refugees. Legislative changes, the program and administrative policies of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), and, especially, international migration trends all have a major effect on the annual cost of providing legal aid to refugee claimants. Costs have been predicted to rise over the next few years because of such factors as greater numbers of cases being processed per year, possible increases in certain kinds of appeals, and possible shifts in legal aid coverage changes or administrative requirements at the IRB or CIC.

A major issue is the type of assistance and representation that is required by refugee claimants and immigrants at various stages of the process. The research found that most refugee claimants require some assistance at all stages of the immigration and refugee determination process. However, assistance does not necessarily need to be full representation by a lawyer. The research suggests the need for a continuum-of-service approach when providing legal aid during the immigration and refugee process, which can include information packages, non-legal advice, and paralegal representation, depending on specific circumstances. There are many avenues for implementing innovative and flexible responses to unmet needs. Especially promising are the possibilities of linking legal aid with other service providers and involving community organizations in the provision of some legal aid.

A report synthesizing the findings of immigration and refugee legal aid research was published in the spring 2003, while the individual research reports will be available later in 2003.

VICTIMIZATION IN THE NORTH

Contact: Anna Paletta, Principal Researcher

Between January 2001 and August 2002, the Policy Centre for Victim Issues and the Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice Canada, in cooperation with the territorial governments, undertook an extensive consultation process to determine the nature and extent of existing formal and informal victim services in the three territories, traditional Inuit approaches to victimization, and best practices for delivery of victim services in other remote, Aboriginal regions. The consultation was led by Mary Beth Levan of K'lemi Consultants, and its overall goal was to work with service providers, community caregivers, and other Northern community members to build a body of recommendations to advance the needed assistance for victims of crime in the North.

Drawing from the extensive knowledge and information generated from this project, a compilation of victim services was produced: Victim Services in the Territories: A Compilation of Contacts and Resources. This booklet provides a snapshot of the services that operate in the three Northern territories to address the information, referral, counselling needs of victims of crime. Northern researchers know that there are few uniquely dedicated services for victims in the North, and, as such, the services listed are not "victim services" and are not widely understood in the southern context. Rather, these are human or social services that can be accessed for victims as a "place to call" where no others exist. Mandates for many of these services are not victim-centred, but the reality of the Northern environment and the real dearth of victim services across most communities in the territories places a need on the service workers. These are the services that are highlighted and they are valuable as they illustrate, coupled with the larger report, a place to commence work on addressing the needs of victims of crime in the North.

The booklet provides a resource for victims of crime in identifying any available services and is intended as a resource to all those with a stake in issues and needs related to victims of crime. It is hoped that this booklet will accomplish two goals: highlight the important work that community members and governments have undertaken for victims of crime and provide a place to commence networks within and between territories and communities. These networks can provide a method for advancing victim service delivery through peer support and linkages, research, sharing of experiences and best practices and challenges. It may also be used as one tool to assist service providers in identifying resources for victims outside their community. The information available includes names of organizations, addresses, e-mail addresses of contact persons, type of service offered, number of paid staff, and client groups.

Clearly, as the full report prepared by Ms. Levan on the state of victim services in the Northern territories indicates, there is much work to be done for victims in the North. We must be cautious as readers not to rely on this handbook in isolation as the "picture" of victim services in the North and assume from the number of services listed that there is an abundance of victim services in the Northern territories. In reality, they are few and far between, and much more work must be done.

FIREARM STATISTICS, UPDATED TABLES

Contact: Kwing Hung, Ph.D., Statistical and Methodological Advisor

This is a collection of public statistics on firearm-related issues, which is updated annually. Part I contains statistics for Canada as a whole. It includes administrative data on firearms control, such as firearms registration certificates, firearms licences, firearms permits; import and export of firearms; firearm crimes such as homicides and robberies; firearm deaths and hospitalization. Part II contains selected firearm statistics for jurisdictions in Canada, including firearm crimes, firearm deaths and hospitalization. Part III contains two tablescomparing firearm homicides and firearm robberies in Canada and in the United States. Electronic copies of the report may be obtained upon request.

LEGAL NEEDS OF WOMEN IN CRIMINAL AND OTHER LEGAL MATTERS

Contact: Tina Hattem, Senior Research Officer

It is widely acknowledged that gender, race, and class influence individual experiences in the legal system. This research documents the issues impacting on the legal information, support, advice, and representation women need when they come into contact with the criminal justice system:

Further, it will make explicit the impact of diversity on the experiences of women by including immigrant, refugee and visible minority women, women in rural or isolated communities, and Aboriginal women. Finally, the research will examine the nature of actual or potential unmet needs and the recommendations outlined in the literature to address those needs. In addition to relying on a review of Canadian literature on the circumstances and justice experiences of women, the research findings are based on interviews with legal professionals and other service providers.

JustReleased

Here is a list of reports recently released by the Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Justice Canada that may be of interest to you, all of which are available on our Internet site at: https://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/ps/rs/rep/100-e.html

A Series of Strategic Issues Papers

A series of Strategic Issues papers are now available. The papers deal with a range of topics from biotechnology to the Internet to support for children after separation or divorce. They were commissioned over the last couple of years by Valerie Howe, Senior Researcher of the Research and Statistics Division, for various purposes including an organized discussion among federal, provincial, and territorial Deputy Ministers of Justice and expert panel discussions.

Strolling Away

By Dr. Susan McIntyre

While there have been many studies of youth involvement in the sex trade, there have been very few studies of their getting away from it. Strolling Away is an attempt to address this gap. This report is based on interviews with 33 women and 5 men who entered the sex trade in their youth and who eventually succeeded in leaving it. Through their stories, the report explores the process of leaving and staying off the street and the types of services and support networks that were or would have been useful. The report sets the stage for further exploring the various paths followed by young women and men who sell sexual favours at some point in their lives and who eventually manage to leave this environment behind. However, there is still a lot to learn to fully portray the complexity of the issues.

A One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada

By Steven Bittle, Nathalie Quann, Tina Hattem, and Danielle Muise

On May 10, 2000, the Research and Statistics Division co-coordinated the One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada. The goal of the Snapshot was to determine the following:

  • where Aboriginal youth lived prior to being charged or committing their offence;
  • where they committed or allegedly committed their offence;
  • where they plan to relocate upon release from custody; and,
  • the number, age, and gender of Aboriginal youth in custody on Snapshot day and the nature of their charges or convictions.