Victims of crime in Nova Scotia, including Indigenous victims and sexual assault survivors, gaining a stronger voice in the criminal justice system: Government of Canada providing $6.21M in funding
May 9, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
Everyone expects to live in a society where the criminal justice system is fair, accessible, and supports the needs of victims. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects and activities that promote access to justice and give victims and survivors of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, along with the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, announced funding to give victims of crime in Nova Scotia a more effective voice in the criminal justice system by enhancing support and improving access to justice for victims.
The Government of Canada is providing a total of $6,210,000 over five years, starting April 2021, to the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Maintenance Enforcement and Victim Services Division to support the enhancement of victim services and the implementation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR), and to provide independent legal advice and representation to survivors of sexual assault.
This includes $3,530,000 in funding for Nova Scotia’s Enhancement of Services for Victims of Crime program, which supports the implementation of victim services and the CVBR across the province. The funding will help to:
- reduce barriers for Indigenous victims of crime to better participate in the criminal justice process. This includes funding for customized activities to address the unique needs of Indigenous victims of crime, as well as funding for an Indigenous Victim Case Coordinator responsible for the administration and delivery of victim service programs for Indigenous victims in Nova Scotia;
- support victims with unpaid restitution orders by providing them with direct supports to pursue civil enforcement and by tracking unpaid orders; and
- improve the level of service provided to victims throughout the court process by enhancing training for staff to ensure consistent program delivery across the province.
Nova Scotia’s Sexual Offence Legal Representation program, which helps survivors in sexual assault trials by providing them with access to legal representation is receiving $2,680,000. This program aims to ensure that the privacy interests of survivors are adequately raised with the court whenever past sexual history or records of a survivor are sought to be introduced as evidence during a trial. Providing access to legal representation to survivors to challenge these applications is important in order to protect their privacy, personal integrity, and to prevent re-victimization.
With this federal funding, Nova Scotia can enhance victim services and access to justice for victims, ensuring that victims have a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.
“Victims of crime need our support. This is especially important for Indigenous victims of crime and survivors of sexual assault who face additional barriers to receiving access to justice. Ensuring that victims have access to the resources and information they need and know their rights is critical to victims having a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. The funding provided to Nova Scotia will help achieve those important goals.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“We need to help victims of crime and their families exercise their rights and help them heal from the harm they have experienced. This funding will help to ensure that victims of crime in Nova Scotia receive the resources they need by enhancing support for victims and improving access to justice.”
The Honourable Sean Fraser
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Central Nova
“Strengthening supports for Indigenous victims and sexual assault survivors is an important part of ensuring they are not being re-victimized as they seek justice. This funding will provide services that will allow those most impacted to take more control and ownership over their own healing process, whether that be through ensuring protection of their privacy, recover restitution owed, or assist them through the court process.”
The Honourable Brad Johns
Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Nova Scotia
According to a Statistics Canada survey, in 2018, almost six million Canadians, 30% of women and 8% of men, had been a victim of sexual assault since age 15. 55% of both Indigenous women and bisexual women reported that they had been sexually assaulted since the age of 15.
Indigenous women are more likely to face violence in their lifetime. According to data from Statistics Canada on violent victimization of Indigenous women released in 2022, almost two-thirds of First Nations (64%) and Métis (65%) women, and almost half of Inuit women (45%) experienced violent victimization in their lifetime.
The funding is being provided as part of the Call for Proposals through the Victims Fund, launched in October 2020, for provincial and territorial governments to support the enhancement of victim services and the implementation of the CVBR from 2021-2026.
The funding is also being provided as part of the Call for Proposals for additional independent legal advice funding through the Victims Fund, launched in June 2021, to support independent legal advice programs for victims and survivors of sexual assault.
The Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, and/or increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families.
The CVBR, which came into force in 2015, established statutory rights in four areas at the federal level for victims of crime. Victims have a right to information, to protection, to participation, and to seek restitution. They can also make a complaint if they believe their rights have been infringed on or denied.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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