Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would transform the criminal justice system by creating, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime - a first in Canadian history.
Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris said, "I am pleased our Government has moved forward with this important initiative and will enshrine the rights of victims."
During consultations held by the federal Government over the past year, many victims of crime shared stories of their interactions with the criminal justice system. Many participants expressed a desire for victims of crime to be kept better informed and involved at every stage of the justice process and called for an increased understanding of the needs of victims.
The legislation would create the following statutory rights for victims of crime:
Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information relating to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed them.
Right to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to request their identity be protected from public disclosure.
Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered at various stages of the criminal justice process and to present a victim impact statement.
Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate financial losses.
Overview of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights - See more at: http://www.pm.gc.ca/node/35649#sthash.2hhFxp6H.dpuf