OTTAWA (Ontario), March 30, 2010 - The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) today released its report Toward a Greater Respect for Victims in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, urging the Government of Canada to provide victims of crime with enhanced and legislated rights.
"Victims have repeatedly told us that they want their rights to be legislated, and they want to be kept informed," said Steve Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
"They want to be part of the system, to have their voice matter."
Several reviews of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act have identified a systemic imbalance when it comes to the rights of the offenders versus the rights of the victims. While offenders' rights are repeatedly provided for in legislation, additional work needs to be done when it comes to the victim's rights. A number of legislative reforms have been proposed, but none adopted as of yet.
"I was encouraged to see a number of our previous recommendations proposed as part of Bill C-43, in June 2009. Unfortunately, the Bill died when Government prorogued Parliament. While this BILL was a step in the right direction for victims' rights, more needed to be done. We urge the Government to incorporate the changes we have recommended," says Sullivan.
Toward a Greater Respect for Victims in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act makes 13 recommendations to the Government of Canada to strengthen victims' rights. The report emphasizes the need to treat victims with compassion and respect, to proactively provide them with information about their rights and the offender who harmed them, to respect the important role they have to play in National Parole Board hearings, and to ensure that court-orderd restitution is paid.
Created in 2007, the OFOVC helps victims to address their needs, promotes their interests and makes recommendations to the federal government on issues that negatively impact victims.