- OFOVC Newsletter – Winter 2022
Newsletter - Winter 2022
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Welcome Message from the new Ombudsperson
I am starting in this role with gratitude for those who came before me - for Steve Sullivan, Sue O’Sullivan, and Heidi Illingworth who gave so much of themselves to this Office. I am thankful for the victims of crime who have trusted us with their concerns, for our dedicated staff team, and for our stakeholders in government and other organizations across the country.
Over the past two months, I have met with many government and community leaders, and been inspired by their openness and hope. I feel a sense of momentum.
I believe that improving victim rights is a developmental process. The criminal justice system has developed over hundreds of years and the rights of people accused of criminal behaviours are well established in law and in practice. The rights of victims of crime are still developing, and I believe there are many ways to strengthen rights and services for victims that do not interfere with the rights of the accused.
Now is the time for courageous leadership to address long-standing challenges we have heard from victims of crime. It is time to ensure that all victims of crime are provided with information about their rights within the criminal justice system and how to share concerns about their personal safety.
I am encouraged by the December 2022 report from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Improving Support for Victims of Crime. The report includes 13 recommendations to strengthen the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR) and guarantee consistent access to victim services across the country. In November, Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) launched the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence (GBV), which also emphasizes support for victims, survivors, and their families, as well as investment in prevention. Achieving this objective will require bold action. Ending GBV in Canada will require significant improvements to victim rights.
In the New Year, we will continue to listen to the voices of victims of crime, take action to resolve their complaints, and advocate for systems change. We also hope to re-launch our Indigenous, Academic, and Service Provider Advisory Circles so we can be responsive to emerging issues across Canada, and receive guidance on our continued support for the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I am filled with hope for the coming year. Still new and optimistic, but supported by a great team and surrounded by so many champions for victims of crime.
Thank you for all the ways you continue to make things better across the country. Get in touch! We look forward to learning from you and working together to build a safer and more inclusive future. From our OFOVC family, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a fulfilling New Year.
Dr. Benjamin Roebuck (he/him)
Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime
Events and Engagements with stakeholders
The Ombudsperson has had a busy first few months.
On November 10th, he provided welcoming remarks for the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention conference on “The Future of Safer Communities”. On November 14th, the Ombudsperson appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to discuss Bill C-28. He urged the committee to consider the legislation through the lens of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, and made three key recommendations. His recommendations were considered and influenced the final recommendations.
The Ombudsperson had introductory meetings with Anne Kelly, Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada, Jennifer Oades, Chairperson of the Parole Board of Canada, and senior officials at Justice Canada and Public Safety Canada. And he had an opportunity to participate in the Federal Provincial Territorial Working Group (FPTWG) on Victims of Crime hosted by the Policy Centre for Victim Issues.
On December 13th, the OFOVC met with officials from South Korea’s Ministry of Justice, who came to Canada to learn more about victims’ rights in Canada.
The following reports were prepared during the previous Ombudsperson’s term:
- (Not all) Hurt people hurt people: rethinking the victim-offender overlap; examining the correlation between victimization and criminal offending
- Repairing the Harm: A Special Report on Restitution for Victims of Crime in Canada; examining the current state of victim restitution and recommendations going forward
- What We Heard - Yukon Sharing Circle; a summary report of what we heard from participants in the Yukon Sharing Circle we hosted in May 2021.
We have published several reports from external subject matter specialists on victimology, which can be found in our research corner:
- Prepared by:
- Andrea Silverstone, Chief Executive Officer, Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society
- Carrie McManus, Director of Innovation and Programs, Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society Ontario Tech University
- Rod Dubrow-Marshall, PhD, Professor, Co-Programme Leader, Masters of Science Psychology of Coercive Control, University of Salford and RETIRN, UK
- Prepared by Marie Manikis, Associate Professor at McGill University
- Prepared by Dr. Hannah Scott
Ontario Tech University
Developing a modernized federal response plan for Canadians victimized abroad in acts of mass violence: How Canada can address the needs of cross-border victims based on international best practices
- Part 1 – The needs of cross-border victims and the current systems across the five eyes
- Part 2 – Analysis of the five eyes’ systems for addressing cross-border victims’ needs – discerning best practices and proposing targeted recommendations for Canada
- Prepared by : Canadian Coalition Against Terror (C-CAT)
- Prepared by MADD Canada
You may have noticed our name changed to the Office of the Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime. The term “Ombudsperson” is inclusive and can apply to any gender identity. Please do update our name in your records or on your website. We look forward to serving you under our new name.
Let’s stay connected
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