Friday, April 4, 2014

Federal Politics

Hidden Casualties

Strahl: Transformative bill ensures victims are at the heart of our justice system

Released by Robert Pearsall, PA to MP Mark Strahl


ictims of crime will have enforceable rights in Canada's criminal justice system thanks to legislation introduced today to implement a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, says Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP, Mark Strahl.

"This transformative bill ensures victims are at the heart of our justice system." Strahl added, "I'm very proud that our Government has listened to the concerns of victims and taken action to give them a stronger voice in our justice system."

The legislation delivers on commitments made in the 2013 Throne Speech and in Budget 2014 to enhance the rights of victims. The need for a greater understanding of the needs of victims, including keeping them better informed and more involved, was identified during public consultations.

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.

The legislation is part of the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which focusses on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of the justice system.

"I've always believed that the government should put the rights of victims ahead of the rights of the convicted," said Strahl. "The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights will do just that."


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