QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 04/26/13 -- Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), spoke about the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to addressing the needs of victims of crime at a symposium hosted by the Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared.
"The Harper Government has taken concrete actions to not only protect the victims of crime but to prevent Canadians from becoming victims in the first place," said Minister Paradis. "By holding violent offenders accountable for their crimes, promoting victims' access to justice and participation in the criminal justice system, and making the justice system more efficient, we are ensuring our criminal justice system works for victims, not for criminals."
Earlier this week, the Government began consultations on a Canadian Victims' Bill of Rights, which will enshrine the rights of victims into federal legislation. This is in keeping with the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, one of four priorities identified by the Prime Minister. This plan focuses on tackling crime, victims' rights, and fair and efficient justice.
The Government of Canada's action on supporting victims of crime builds on measures that have already been taken to further advance the interests of victims, including:
-- the establishment of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime;-- the creation of the Federal Victims Strategy, with more than $90 million allocated since 2007 for programs and services that help give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system;-- the allocation of more than $10 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres since 2010 to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime;-- the introduction of legislation to double the victims' surcharge and to make it mandatory; and-- the elimination of the faint-hope clause.
The symposium was held during National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. The eighth annual Victims Week is being held across Canada from April 21 to 27 with the theme We All Have a Role.
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Key Accomplishments for Victims of Crime
Canada has made significant accomplishments in giving victims of crime a more effective voice in the justice system.
Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act (Bill C-26) (Effective date: March 11, 2013)
Under this legislation, an owner, a person in lawful possession of property, or someone authorized by them, will be allowed to arrest a person within a reasonable amount of time after having found that person committing a criminal offence either on their property (e.g. when the offence occurs in their yard), or in relation to their property (e.g. when their property is stolen from a public parking lot).
The new citizen's arrest authority will only apply in circumstances when it is not feasible for a police officer to make the arrest. The police will continue to be Canada's first and foremost criminal law enforcement body.