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Archived - Government of Canada Launches 10th Annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week
April 20, 2015 – Gatineau, QC – Department of Justice.
Today, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay and Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney launched the 10th annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (Victims Week) by welcoming victims, victim advocates, victim-serving organizations, criminal justice system professionals and policy-makers to a federal symposium held in Gatineau, Quebec.
The theme of the 10th annual Victims Week, "Shaping the Future Together," recognizes the actions taken by victims, dedicated criminal justice professionals and volunteers, victim service providers, and all levels of government to shape a future that gives victims of crime a meaningful voice in our criminal justice system.
During their remarks, Minister MacKay and Minister Blaney discussed the significant and concrete measures that the Government of Canada has taken to ensure that victims have a more effective voice at the heart of our criminal justice system and are treated with the courtesy, compassion and respect for dignity they deserve at every stage of the criminal justice process.
A key measure taken by the Government of Canada was the introduction in April 2014 of Bill C-32, the Victims Bill of Rights Act, which would create clear rights for victims of crime at the federal level - a first in Canadian history. The Victims Bill of Rights Act is landmark legislation that would enshrine in law, once and for all, a bill of rights for victims of crime. It recognizes that victims deserve - and should have a right to information, protection, participation, and a right to seek restitution. For too long, the rights of criminals have received more attention than those of their victims. The Government of Canada has committed to reversing that trend and to keeping our streets and communities safe for all Canadians.
- Victims Week is held each year in April to raise awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs and laws in place to help victims and their families.
- For the 10th annual Victims Week, three federal symposia will be held across the country, including one in the National Capital Region (April 20, 2015), one in Vancouver (April 22, 2015) and one in Halifax (April 24, 2015). The symposia are day-long events that feature workshops and plenary sessions on victim issues.
- An interactive map of all of the Victims Week events being held across the country is available at http://www.victimsweek.gc.ca/map-carte/events-evene.aspx.
- As a strong advocate for victims of crime, the Government of Canada has introduced measures to protect Canadians and recognize the important rights of victims of crime, including:
- Ensuring that Canada's most heinous criminals are kept behind bars for life (Bill C-53, the Life Means Life Act); and
- Protecting our children from sexual exploitation and online crime (Bill C-26, the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act).
- Additionally, many legislative measures introduced by the Government of Canada have already been enacted to protect Canadians and to effectively address the concerns of victims , including:
- Protecting Canadians - especially youth - from online exploitation by prohibiting the non-consensual distribution of intimate images (The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act); and
- Repealing the "faint-hope" clause for murders, to spare families of victims the pain of reliving their losses over and over again through repeated parole eligibility hearings (The Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act).
- Since 2006, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $158 million to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system through initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada.
“Our Government knows that Canadians who have felt the devastating impact of being victimized by crime need to have confidence in the justice system. This 10th annual Victims Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the meaningful changes we have made together in the last decade for victims of crime across the country. By holding offenders accountable and placing victims at the heart of our justice system, we are shaping a future in which victims have a real voice in our criminal justice system. Our Government will continue to help keep our streets and communities safe and stand up for victims of crime.”
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Our Government is making principled decisions and taking decisive actions that reflect the values of Canadians and that help ensure we can all feel safe in our streets, our communities, and our homes. The theme of the 10th annual Victims Week - Shaping the Future Together - reflects the need for all of us to do our part to build a future in which all victims of crime are treated with dignity, courtesy and respect.”
Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- Backgrounder: National Victims of Crime Awareness Week 2015
- Backgrounder: Government of Canada Accomplishments for Victims of Crime
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