Frequently Asked Questions
When Canadian victims of crime share their experiences with the OFOVC, we learn and better understand what the pressing issues and challenges are for victims of crime Canada.
Here are the answers to commonly asked questions that may help you find the information and services you are looking for quickly.
Every situation is unique, so please contact us if you need more information or clarification.
How do I report a crime against me or someone else?
To report a crime or for immediate assistance, contact the police in your area.
Victims' role in the criminal justice system
Who is considered a "victim"?
You are considered a victim of crime if:
- you have been harmed or suffered physical or emotional damage as a result of someone committing a criminal offence or
- you are a spouse, conjugal partner, relative of, dependent of or are responsible for a victim who has died or is not able to act for himself or herself (e.g., the victim is ill or is a child).
What are my rights as a victim of crime in Canada?
In Canada, there are both federal and provincial laws that apply to victims.
In federal legislation, victims' rights are recognized in the Criminal Code and in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Under these, victims have the right to file and read a Victim Impact Statement at the time that an offender is sentencedand the right to obtain certain information about the offender who harmed them.
For more information on your rights, see the "Victims' rights in Canada" section of our website.
A Victim Impact Statement is a statement by a victim that describes the harm done and, more generally, the effect that the crime has had on his or her life. Victim Impact Statements are given to the judge who will take it into account when considering the sentence an offender will receive.
A victim may also present a statement at Parole Board of Canada hearings. The policy and guidelines regarding victim statements presented at parole hearings are posted on the Parole Board of Canada website or you can call the victim's Info-line toll free at 1-866-789-4636.
How do I obtain information about an incarcerated offender?
Information about an offender is not automatically shared with the victim. Victims will only receive certain information about the offender who harmed them if they have registered with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) or the Parole Board of Canada (PBC), and they requested it.
For more information about the types of information victims are entitled to receive, please see the Registering as a victim section of our website.
How do I register as a victim?
You can send completed registration forms by email or mail directly to the PBC.
How can I attend a Parole Board of Canada hearing?
Victims may attend hearings as observers or to present a Victim Impact Statement. To observe a hearing, complete and sign a Request to Observe a Hearing Form and submit it to the Parole Board of Canada. For more information, visit the Parole Board of Canada.
How do I find out the date of a parole board hearing?
Registered victims will receive notification of parole board hearings if they request it. Please contact the Correctional Service of Canada toll free at 1-866-806-2275 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Parole Board of Canada toll free at 1-866-789-4636 or online to find out how to register and how to receive financial assistance to attend a parole hearing.
How can I present a Victim Statement?
Victims may present a prepared statement directly to members of the Parole Board of Canada Board at a parole hearing. Victims may also choose to present their statements on audio, videotape, CD or DVD rather than in-person.
To present a statement, victims must submit a written request to the Parole Board of Canada in the region where the hearing will take place. A Request to Present a Victim Statement at a Hearing Form can be downloaded online. Any regional office may be contacted to find out where to send the request.
Assistance available to victims
What services are available for victims of crime?
Victims of crime may access services from:
- police services
- non-governmental organizations
Visit our Resources section or contact us directly for information and assistance offered by Government of Canada agencies such as Correction Services and the Parole Board.
For more information on the government services available in your province or territory, please visit the victims' services section of our website.
Many non-governmental organizations also assist victims. Many provinces have a 1-800 number for victims of crime, which you can find in your telephone book or on the internet or you can find services in your area by consulting the Policy Centre for Victim Issues' Victim Services Directory.
I was victimized outside of Canada, can you help?
If you have been the victim of a crime outside of Canada please contact Consular Services.
For cases of physical or sexual assault, Canadian consular officials can:
- provide support in dealing with the emotional, social, medical, and legal consequences of the assault;
- assist in contacting relatives or friends;
- put you in contact with counselling services locally or in Canada;
- assist in meeting your basic safety needs; and
- ensure that a proper investigation is carried out and charges laid if the assailant has been identified.
In other emergencies, Consular Services also provide the following services:
- Assist in arranging an evacuation in the event of war, civil unrest, or a natural disaster, as a last resort ($ fee).
- Arrange help in a medical emergency by providing you with a list of local doctors and hospitals.
- Arrange for a medical evacuation if a necessary treatment is not available locally ($ fee).
- Comfort and assist victims of robbery, sexual assault, or other violence.
- Provide assistance in cases of missing persons or if a child has been abducted to another country.
In some cases, emergency financial assistance is also available to individual Canadians who are victims of specified serious violent crimes (homicide, sexual assault, and aggravated assault or assault with serious personal violence, including against a child) in a foreign jurisdiction for emergency situations of undue hardship where no other source of financial assistance is available.
This emergency financial assistance is available through the Victims Fund, which is administered by the Department of Justice's Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI). For more information on Emergency Financial Assistance, including information on how to apply, visit the PCVI's website or contact them directly by email: Victims-Abroad-Fund-Manager@justice.gc.ca
Do you provide financial assistance?
The OFOVC does not provide any form of financial assistance or compensation, however the Department of Justice's Policy Centre for Victim Issues provides information on the types of financial assistance available from the federal government, As well, some provinces have established criminal injuries compensation or financial assistance programs for victims of crime. You may contact organizations in your province or territory can refer you to the available criminal injuries compensation or financial assistance programs.
How can I apply for financial assistance to attend a sentencing hearing?
Victims who are registered with the PBC/CSC and have been approved by the Parole Board of Canada to attend a hearing can apply to the Department of Justice's Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI) to receive financial assistance to attend the hearings of the offender who harmed them. Read more here.
For more information applying for attendance and attending a parole hearing click here
PCVI administers a fund that provides financial assistance to victims and a support person to cover travel, hotel, and meal expenses, in accordance with current Government of Canada Travel Guidelines. As well, child or dependent care costs can be claimed. For more information, victims may contact the Victims Fund Manager by calling, toll-free, 1-866-544-1007 or visit PCVI's website.