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Pushing for change

There is ongoing debate over Canada’s criminal justice system – both in Parliament and around kitchen tables. And while this debate is healthy the focus remains predominantly on offenders: the means of apprehending and sentencing them, the provisions for corrections and rehabilitation, and their rights. In the past, the needs and rights of victims have been relegated to being side issues even though just about any proposed change to the criminal justice system can have a considerable impact on victims.

The Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime seeks to ensure that victims’ voices are heard in both the legislative and public debate. As part of her mandate, the Ombudsman makes recommendations to the federal government on how to introduce or adapt policies, programs, services or laws to strengthen the rights and improve the treatment of victims of crime in Canada

The Ombudsman also makes recommendations on a variety of issues that are brought to its attention through complaints and inquiries, stakeholder surveys, a growing body of statistics on victims’ concerns, and a variety of both Canadian and international studies on victims’ issues.