ARCHIVED - Harper Government is taking action to help victims of crime
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Vancouver – March 21, 2012 — Today, the Honourable Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety, met with victims of crime advocates to emphasize the Government's commitment to helping victims.
“Our Government has listened to victims of crime and has responded by passing legislation that focuses on victims' concerns,” said Minister Toews. “Along with increasing offender accountability, the Safe Streets and Communities Act guarantees a victim can participate in parole hearings, and allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism.”
“Our Government is taking action through this legislation to ensure the voices of victims are heard and that further victimization is prevented,” continued Minister Toews. “Our Government is committed to closing the revolving door to Canada's justice system. We have not built a single new prison, and we have no plans to build a new prison. This Act protects Canadians by ensuring that the most serious, violent offenders are kept off our streets for a longer period of time.”
The Safe Streets and Communities Act contains a number of measures to address concerns raised by victims of crime, including:
- the Increasing Offender Accountability Act (former Bill C-39), which will enshrine a victim's right to participate in parole hearings and address inmate accountability, responsibility, and management under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act;
- the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and related amendments to the State Immunity Act (former Bill S-7), which will allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism in a Canadian court, including foreign states listed by the Government;
- the Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act (former Bill C-54), which will increase penalties for sexual offences against children, as well as create two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child;
- Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders) (former Bill C-4), which will better protect Canadians from violent and repeat young offenders and make the protection of society a paramount consideration in the management of young offenders by the justice system;
- the Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act (former Bill C-23B), which will extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension (currently called a "pardon") to five years for summary conviction offences and to 10 years for indictable offences; and
- the Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes by Serious and Violent Offenders Act (former Bill C-16), which will eliminate the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest, for serious and violent crimes.
In addition, the Government created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) in 2007 to ensure the federal government meets its responsibilities to victims of crime. Public Safety Canada also directly supports crime victims through the National Office for Victims. This single, national point of contact offers information and support on federal corrections issues, ensures a victim perspective in policy development, and develops information products for dissemination to victims, victim service providers and the general public.
The OFOVC recently issued an important and useful report titled Shifting the Conversation – A look at refocusing Canada's justice system to better meet the needs of victims of crime. The Government is currently closely examining this report and its recommendations with a view to ensuring that the needs of victims of crime are fully considered and met within the justice system.
For more information on the National Office for Victims, please visit the office's website http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/crrctns/ntnl-ffc-vctms-eng.aspx, or, if you are a victim, you can call 1-866-525-0554 free of charge to learn about the various services the office provides.
For more information on the Safe Streets and Communities Act, please visit the website publicsafety.gc.ca
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