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Ministers of Justice and Public Safety Name First Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime

OTTAWA, April 23, 2007 - The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Rob Nicholson, Q.C., and the Minister of Public Safety, Stockwell Day, today announced that Steve Sullivan has been appointed to the position of Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. The announcement was made in Ottawa at the official launch of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, which takes place April 22 to 28.

"For far too long very little attention was being paid to our victims of crime, which is why Canada's New Government committed to a Federal Ombudsman to help them in their journey for justice," said Minister Nicholson. "Today I am proud to announce that Canada's first Federal Ombudsman is Steve Sullivan - a long-time advocate for victims in Canada. I have confidence that Steve will ensure victims can have a voice in our criminal justice system."

The Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime will ensure the federal government meets its commitments; will promote access to existing government programs and services; and will identify and explore systemic and emerging victim issues. The establishment of the Ombudsman is part of the $52 million package for victims of crime announced on March 16, 2007 and fulfills a promise made by Canada's New Government to better meet the needs of victims of crime in matters of federal jurisdiction.

The Ombudsman will operate at arm's length from the federal departments responsible for victim issues, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Safety. The provinces and territories will continue to be the primary providers of victim services.

"Our new government is once again taking action to support victims of crime," said Minister Day. "Victims of crime deserve a voice at all stages in the criminal justice system. The new Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime will help ensure that the needs of victims are properly addressed."

During National Victims of Crime Awareness Week events and activities are held by communities across Canada to raise awareness about victims' issues, the services that are available to victims and their families, and laws intended to help victims. This year's theme is It's Time to Listen. The ongoing efforts of countless service providers who dedicate their time and energy to helping victims of crime, as well as progress made on victim issues across Canada will be highlighted during the week.

In Ottawa, more than 100 victim advocates, service providers and others will gather at Old City Hall for a symposium to listen to the experiences of victims, share practices and discuss emerging issues.

Further information can be found on the following websites:

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Ref.:

Geneviève Breton
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
Minister of Public Safety
613-991-2863

Media Relations
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
613-991-0657