LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 14, 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 London to discuss key priorities for the creation of a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
"Victims often feel that they don't have an effective voice in the criminal justice system. Our Government is working to make adjustments that will provide greater protection for the integrity and respect that victims should be afforded," said Minister MacKay. "Those around the consultation table have invaluable insights that will help our Government determine how best to recognize and protect the rights of victims of crime."
This consultation follows the Government's commitment in February to entrench the rights of victims of crime by bringing forward legislation to implement a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights into a single law at the federal level. Views expressed by those at the consultation will add to information received through other cross-country consultations and to the online public consultation being hosted on the Department of Justice website. The online consultation is available 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 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 in the criminal justice and corrections systems through programs and initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada;
- Creating the Federal Victims Strategy in 2007 and its permanent renewal in 2011;
- Establishing the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime;
- Allocating $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres since 2010 to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime;
- Introducing legislation to double the victims' 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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