HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Aug. 23, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Central Nova, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today met with victims of crime and justice advocates in Halifax to discuss key priorities for the creation of a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
"Victims of crime in Nova Scotia and across this country need to be afforded a stronger voice in the justice system," said Minister MacKay. "While our Government continues to put forward what we believe is a strong but fair emphasis on criminals being held responsible, we must do more to recognize and protect the rights of victims, because they want and deserve a more meaningful role in the system."
This consultation follows the Government's commitment in February to entrench the rights of victims of crime by bringing forward legislation to develop a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. Views expressed by those at the consultation will add to information provided through other cross-country consultations and to the online public consultation being hosted on the Department of Justice website until September 3, 2013, at: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/victims-victimes/vrights-droitsv/. These consultations will ultimately contribute to enhancing victims' rights in Canada.
The development of a federal Victims Bill of Rights builds on the Government's record of achievements in giving victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections systems. These achievements include:
- Allocating more than $120 million since 2006 to give victims a more effective voice through initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada;
- Designating $10.25 million for new or enhanced child advocacy centres to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime;
- Creating the Federal Victims Strategy in 2007 and its permanent renewal in 2011;
- Establishing the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime;
- Introducing legislation to double the victim surcharge and make it mandatory; and
- Eliminating the faint-hope clause, which allowed murderers to obtain early parole.
The Victims Bill of Rights consultations are part of the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which is one of four priorities identified by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This Plan focuses on tackling crime, enhancing victims' rights, and ensuring a fair and efficient justice system.
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