Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

September 29, 2009 11:44 ET

Government of Canada Supports Victims of Crime in Canada's North

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - Sept. 29, 2009) - The Government of Canada is hosting a conference in Yellowknife entitled Northern Responses and Approaches to Victims of Crime: Building on Strength and Resilience. The three-day conference brings together professionals who work with victims of crime in Canada's northern regions.

The conference, which is being hosted by Justice Canada in collaboration with federal, provincial, and territorial partners, is the first of its kind in Canada's North. The theme of Building on Strength and Resilience will guide the more than 25 workshops and keynote speakers, with the overall objectives being to:

- build the knowledge and capacity of victims' services workers in Canada's North;

- strengthen the relations among communities, professionals, and programs in the North; and

- raise awareness of the nature of victimization in the North, and discuss responses that are specific to the North.

"Canada is fortunate to have so many dedicated professionals working to improve the lives of those who have been affected by crime," said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. "I would like to express my appreciation for all the hard work they do in support of victims of crime across the country."

The Government of Canada has committed $52 million over four years for programs, services, and funding to respond to a variety of victims' needs, through federal initiatives and through support for provincial and territorial programs. The Government also created the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime in 2007, and recently launched a new on-line Victim Services Directory that will connect victims of crime with services available in their local communities.

More information about the Northern Conference, and the Government's approach to victims of crime, can be found at http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/pcvi-cpcv/north-nord/index.html.

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BACKGROUNDER

Northern Responses and Approaches to Victims of Crime

Northern Responses and Approaches to Victims of Crime: Building on Strength and Resilience

The conference is being hosted by Justice Canada in collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial partners. The three-day event in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, will bring together people from various professions and organizations that work with victims of crime in the northern regions of Canada. Representatives from all 13 provinces and territories and the federal government will be in attendance.

The conference objectives include:

- Building the capacity and knowledge of those who work with victims of crime;

- Encouraging and increasing networking among stakeholders (including criminal justice professionals);

- Sharing innovative ideas about how to meet the needs of victims of crime;

- Raising awareness about victim issues, specifically the context and nature of victimization in the North; and,

- Building relationships between and within communities, professionals, and programs.

The Conference offers practical and inspiring workshops and presentations to a wide variety of participants. Conference workshops and planning were guided by the need to explore emerging issues, best practices, innovations and new approaches to ongoing issues. Topics to be discussed during the workshops include understanding the justice system, working with vulnerable victims of crime, community capacity building, and self care. A full list and descriptions of the workshops can be found at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/pcvi-cpcv/north-nord/work-atel.html

Victims of Crime in the North

According to the 2004 General Social Survey, residents of the territories were three times more likely than provincial residents to experience a violent victimization such as sexual assault, robbery or physical assault (315 versus 106 incidents per 1,000 population). Residents of the North also experienced higher levels of spousal violence than their counterparts in the provinces.

Approximately 12% of northern residents reported being the victim of some form of violence at the hands of a current and/or previous spouse or common-law partner in the five years preceding the survey. This compares to 7% of the population in the provinces. Residents of Nunavut were also far more likely to have been victims of spousal violence (22%) than residents of the Northwest Territories (11%) and the Yukon Territory (9%).

Similarly, police-reported crime rates in the territories were substantially higher than rates in the rest of Canada. Specifically, in 2005, crime rates in the North were over four times higher than rates in the provinces (33,186 compared to 7,679 incidents per 100,000 population). In 2005, the Northwest Territories had the highest police-reported crime rate among the three territories at 41,245 incidents per 100,000 population. This rate was 1.3 times higher than the rate in Nunavut, 1.8 times higher than that in Yukon and nearly three times higher than that in Saskatchewan, the province with the highest provincial crime rate (14,320).

Policy Centre for Victims Issues (PCVI)

The Northern Conference was coordinated by the Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI) at the Department of Justice Canada. PCVI is mandated to work toward improving the experience of victims of crime in the criminal justice system by pursuing a range of activities and initiatives to:

- Ensure that victims of crime and their families are aware of their role in the criminal justice system and services and assistance available to support them;

- Enhance Justice Canada's capacity to develop policy, legislation, and other initiatives involving victims of crime;

- Increase the awareness of criminal justice personnel, allied professionals, and the public about the needs of victims of crime; and,

- Develop and share information about effective approaches to responding to victims of crime within Canada and internationally.

The PCVI engages in legislative reform, consultation, policy development, research, and project funding. It has a close working relationship with the provinces and territories that are tasked with the responsibility for victim service delivery and the provision of criminal injuries compensation to victims of violent crime, where such programs exist.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    613-992-4621
    or
    Department of Justice
    Media Relations
    613-957-4207
    www.canada.justice.gc.ca