Increase in funding to support victims of crime09 February 2018
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Funding to the Victim Services Program was increased in the 2018-19 provincial budget by $1.4 million to sustain a Special Purpose Fund of $2.9 million in order to offer direct services to victims of crime.
“Victims of crime are often overcoming a traumatic experience while attempting to navigate the criminal justice system,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “The Victim Services Program ensures that they do not have to confront these obstacles on their own. The program ensures that victims have the information and support they need to move forward.”
The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (2015) formalizes the right to information, protection, participation, restitution, and complaint. Victim Services staff inform affected individuals about these rights and help them access information and services as their cases move through the criminal justice process. The program provides resources to help victims overcome trauma and participate in the criminal justice process.
“This funding acknowledges that supporting victims of crime is an ongoing priority for government and will ensure the program’s sustainability for years to come,” said Landry.
Some services provided include:
Victim Services staff help victims understand their rights and how the criminal justice process works. This is accomplished by explaining court procedures, explaining the role of officials, providing information on publication bans and testimonial aids as required, providing assistance in preparing impact statements, and providing information on sentencing outcomes.
Staff also help victims gain access to services such as reimbursements for witness expenses if they are required to testify.
Once the court process is over, staff can follow up with victims to see if any information or services are necessary. This includes providing information on options for getting information on offenders sentenced to incarceration.
It is common for victims to struggle with emotional difficulties or anxiety in the aftermath of a crime. Victim Services staff can refer eligible victims to counselling by a registered therapist of their choice.
Court support counselling helps traumatized or anxious victims prepare to provide evidence or testify in court.
Short-term counselling is available under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program to help individuals deal with the emotional effects of being a victim of violent crime.
Court preparation and support
Victim Services offers programs to support victims who are preparing to go to court – particularly vulnerable individuals. Staff and/or volunteers will explain what is required of the victim when they testify, provide tours of the courtroom before trial, and identify any special needs the victim may have if they are to be a witness.
Staff or volunteers may also accompany victims to court, stand by them during their testimony, and provide overall emotional support.
Victim Services can also assist in arranging for testimonial aids such as privacy screens or publication bans.
Remedies for victims
Victims who have suffered personal injuries or losses as a direct result of a crime may be eligible for the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program. These benefits could assist with expenses like medical, dental, physiotherapy, funeral, or childcare expenses that are not covered through other sources. Victim Services staff can help determine eligibility for compensation.
Staff can also provide guidance to victims when applying for restitution from the offender. Restitution is a payment that an offender makes to cover their victim’s financial losses as a result of the crime.
Staff are also able to discuss other compensation programs.
Additional information is available on the Victim Services website.09-02-18