Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Releases Results of Cross-country Engagement on Canada’s Criminal Justice System
November 7, 2017 – OTTAWA (Ontario) – Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
Canada’s Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, Sue O’Sullivan, today released five reports outlining victim and survivor perspectives on restorative justice, bail reform, administration of justice issues, the criminal justice system and the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
The reports provide an overview of the views shared by victims and victim advocates this past August, when the Ombudsman toured Canada and opened her website to comments. The documents also build on existing work, research on international best practices, and provide options for ways to improve the justice system for victims and survivors.
Overall, the Ombudsman found that confidence in the criminal justice system was low. Victims and survivors wanted to see the system transform towards one that was more compassionate to victims, that met the needs of vulnerable groups, that offered more choices and options and which responded to the realities of complex issues, such as domestic violence.
"The Government of Canada is undertaking a review of the criminal justice system at a critical time, when transformative change is needed” said Ms. O’Sullivan. “We undertook this engagement because we wanted to make sure that when change is being considered, it’s being considered with victims in mind."
"What I love most about my work and the work of this Office is that we bring victims’ voices to the table in a concrete way,” said Ms. O’Sullivan. “We are so grateful for the time that victims, service providers and other experts gave to this process. They have so many important ideas we knew would be of value to the Minister of Justice and the Government in their work to transform the criminal justice system into one that is more compassionate, balanced and effective."
- In August 2017 the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime launched a national engagement process to hear from those with lived experiences of victimization, victim service providers, victim advocacy organizations, and other experts about how Canada could better support victims and survivors of crime.
- The discussions focused on areas of interest to the Government, such as: bail reform, administration of justice issues and restorative justice; as well as on the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (An Act for the Recognition of Victims Rights).
- The engagement was undertaken in response to the Government of Canada’s commitment to reviewing the criminal justice system, with the intention of providing timely, relevant and informed options to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada for how to transform federal laws, legislation, services and policies.
- As part of the process, discussion papers were posted to the OFOVC website and Canadians were invited to provide feedback. As well, in-person discussions were held in six cities across Canada.
- The resulting five reports provide more than 80 policy options for the federal government to consider and act upon as they move to review and transform the system.
- Getting fair outcomes for victims in Canada’s criminal justice system (Reports)
- Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime http://www.victimsfirst.gc.ca
Christina McDonald, Communications Manager
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime