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MP REPORT: Bill protects victims
Our government is committed to better protecting victims of crime and giving them a stronger voice in our justice system.
Since 2006, we have established the office of the federal ombudsman for the victims of crime, created the federal victims strategy, repealed Pierre Trudeau’s so-called faint hope clause and introduced and passed more than 30 justice and public safety bills.
On April 3, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian victims bill of rights, wherein he stated, “Our Government wants victims of crime across this country to know that we have listened to their concerns and that we are squarely on their side. Victims will have enforceable rights in Canada’s criminal justice system, will be treated with the respect and fairness that they deserve, and will have a stronger voice.”
This legislation would create the following statutory rights for victims of crime:
Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information related to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed them.
Right to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to request their identity be protected from public disclosure.
Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered at various stages of the criminal justice process and to present a victim impact statement.
Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate financial losses.
Note: The Department of Justice found that the total cost of crime is estimated at $99.6 billion a year, of which 83 per cent is borne by victims.
Past governments have put the rights of offenders at the forefront of the judicial system. Our government will now give victims the consideration they deserve in our judicial system.