HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 12, 2016) - Victims of crime deserve to have access to services that respond to their needs as well as the needs of their families and communities.
Today, Member of Parliament for Halifax Andy Fillmore, on behalf of the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, accompanied by the Honourable Diana Whalen, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nova Scotia, announced funding of more than $3.75 million over five years to help Victims Services at the Nova Scotia Department of Justice build its capacity to respond to an increasing demand for victims services. The funding will support direct services to victims of crime that include services tailored to Indigenous victims, resources to help victims collect restitution payments from offenders, and measures to facilitate the participation of victims in the justice system.
"Victim services are an important part of a justice system that is fair, efficient and accessible to all Canadians. Victims should have access to services and programs that can help them recover from the crimes committed against them, as well as opportunities for meaningful participation in the criminal justice system. This can be particularly true for victims who also are more vulnerable due to cultural, social and economic challenges. This includes women, Indigenous peoples, minority groups and immigrants. I am pleased that this funding will provide enhanced supports to these and other victims."
Member of Parliament for Halifax
"I want to thank the Government of Canada for their investment in victim services on behalf of all Nova Scotians," said Justice Minister Diana Whalen. "This agreement will help victims of crime navigate the justice system and receive the support they need."
The Honourable Diana Whalen
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nova Scotia
- Indigenous people are often over-represented in the criminal justice system, both as offenders and as victims of crime. This funding responds to the needs of victims of crime who are Indigenous by supporting an Aboriginal Victim Case Coordinator position in the Provincial Victim Services Program and contributing to culturally supportive services delivered by the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network.
- The Government of Canada's contribution will help fund a coordinator to assist victims in collecting restitution payments from offenders. Enforcing restitution payments in civil courts is often a long and complex process that is rarely successful.
- The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights includes rights for victims to participate in the criminal justice process. This funding will help cover victims' expenses when travelling to court to deliver their impact statements. As well, the funding will go towards testimonial aids such as video conferencing equipment that would allow victims to provide testimony or impact statements from outside the courtroom.
- This contribution is made available through the Department of Justice Canada's Victims Fund. In 2016-2017, this Fund will provide more than $21 million to provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations to increase awareness and knowledge of victim issues, legislation, and services available, as well as to develop and deliver victim programs, services, and assistance to meet gaps in services for victims of crime. To date, Justice has also announced Victims Fund agreements with the provinces of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
- Backgrounder - Victims Fund agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia
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Victims Fund agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia
Providing the necessary supports and services to respond to the immediate and ongoing needs of victims, survivors, their families and their communities is an important part of a fair and accessible criminal justice system. The Victims Fund is a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice Canada. Funds are made available each year to provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations whose projects and activities support the objectives of the Federal Victims Strategy.
The Victims Fund supports projects and activities that:
- enhance victim assistance programs across Canada;
- promote access to justice and participation in the justice system and the development of laws, policies, and programs;
- promote the implementation of principles, guidelines, and laws designed to address the needs of victims of crime and articulate their role in the criminal justice system;
- contribute to increased knowledge and awareness of the impact of victimization, the needs of victims of crime, available services, assistance and programs, and legislation; and
- promote, encourage and/or enhance governmental and non-governmental organizations' involvement in the identification of victims' needs and gaps in services, as well as in the development and delivery of programs, services and assistance to victims, including capacity building within non-governmental organizations.
In 2016-2017, the Fund will contribute more than $21 million to provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations to increase awareness and knowledge of victim issues, legislation, and services available, as well as to develop and deliver victim programs, services, and assistance to meet gaps in services for victims of crime.
More information is available on the Department of Justice Canada's website.
Improving Access to Justice Services for Victims of Crime in Nova Scotia
The Department of Justice Canada is contributing $3,750,000 over five years to advance victim services and access to justice for victims and witnesses, while giving victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system in Nova Scotia.
The anticipated outcomes of the activities include:
- Victims of crime who are Aboriginal in the Provincial Victim Services Program will have access to an Aboriginal Victim Case Coordinator.
- Culturally supportive victim services will be delivered by the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network.
- A restitution coordinator will provide direct support to victims who are pursuing civil enforcement of unpaid restitution orders.
- Victim services officers will be retained on-call to provide services in communities as necessary.
- Victims will receive funding to travel to sentencing hearings to deliver victim impact statements.
- Specialized training will be delivered to Victim Services Officers.
- The delivery of services will be improved through technological enhancements that will reduce time spent on administrative tasks.
- Witnesses will be able to access new testimonial aids such as video conferencing equipment.
- Nova Scotia Public Safety Victim's Services will have more capacity to undertake projects aimed at improving service delivery.
Department of Justice Canada