Transcript : Victims Services
If you are the victim of a crime, you have an important role in Canada's criminal justice system. Your role continues even after the offender has been sentenced.
The Parole Board of Canada respects that role. If you are looking for information about victim services, the Board can help.
The Parole Board of Canada is authorized by law to make parole decisions for offenders serving federal sentences of two years or more. It also makes parole decisions for offenders in provincial institutions serving sentences of six months to two years less a day, in provinces and territories where there is no provincial parole board.
Although the Board makes parole decisions about an offender's release, independent of outside influence, it is governed by many laws, including the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which sets out criteria Board members must follow.
Public safety is the Board's number-one concern.
The law requires that the Board also be open and accountable to you! Board members value any information you provide because it helps them to understand the harm the offender has caused you and your family. It helps them to make quality decisions that contribute to public safety.
This video will explain some of the services that are available to you as a victim-from how to apply to receive information from the Board, to how to provide information for consideration by Board members.
If you're applying to the Parole Board of Canada, you can call the national Victim Information Line at 1-866-789-INFO (that's 1-866-789-4636)-or visit the Web site at www.pbc-clcc.gc.ca to get the form you need.
Victim information services at the Board are provided by Regional Communications Officers who work at Board offices across the country. Regional Communications Officers-also known as 'RCOs'-do not offer counselling. They help you to understand the parole process and provide information that is available to you under the law.
As a victim, you are entitled to receive the following information. This includes the offender's name, the offence and the court that convicted the offender. You are also entitled to receive information about the date and length of the offender's sentence, the offender's eligibility and review dates for unescorted temporary absences, and day and full parole.
As a victim, you also may receive information about the offender including their age, the location of where they are incarcerated, the date they will be released and dates of any hearing reviews. You may also receive a list of special conditions imposed on the offender by the Board, as well as information about the offender's destination upon release.
You may receive information about whether the offender is in custody and the reasons why. And you may find out if the offender has appealed a parole decision and whether that appeal was successful or not.
The RCO is your point of contact at the Board once you apply as a victim. They can also provide information to help you access funding from Justice Canada to attend a parole hearing.
At any time during the offender's sentence, you can submit a victim statement in writing to the Parole Board of Canada. Because information in your statement will be used by Board members when they make their decisions, by law your statement must be shared with the offender.
If you decide that you want to submit a written statement for consideration by Board members, the RCO can provide information to you. The RCO will give you a Statement Checklist and other materials to help you get started.
Here are some tips to keep in mind: Remember that you are writing to Board members directly about any ongoing harm you and your family are suffering as a result of the crime. Mention any perceived risks you feel the offender may pose if released. Use relevant facts and keep your statement brief.This is a formal process, so the language used must be respectful.
If the Board holds a hearing with the offender, you will have the option of presenting your written statement in person. If you do not want to attend, you can make a video or audio recording of your statement and have it presented on your behalf at the hearing.
Once you have applied to the Parole Board of Canada and registered as a victim, you may attend a parole hearing to observe or to present your statement.
You will be accompanied by an RCO who will explain beforehand what to expect at the hearing and answer questions before Board members' deliberations. You may be in a hearing room like this one, inside an institution.
The offender will have been told in advance that you are attending the hearing, and they will have been provided with a copy of your statement if you have submitted one. If you are attending an Elder-Assisted Hearing, the RCO will have information to share with you about what to expect.
While the Board will make sure that none of your contact information is shared with the offender, it is important to remember that, under law, the written statement you submit must be shared with the offender. That is why the Board must receive it in advance of the review. The RCO will tell you when to submit your statement.
Board members will carefully consider all relevant information available to them to determine whether or not the offender presents a risk to public safety if released. That includes any information you choose to submit.
If you are presenting your written statement in person at the parole hearing, it shouldn't take longer than 10 minutes generally. Other observers, including media, may also be present.
The RCO will be with you throughout the hearing, and will answer your questions before or after the hearing. The Board's main goal is public safety.
Whether you choose to submit a victim statement or attend a hearing, you always have the choice of making a request in writing to receive a copy of the Board's parole decisions through the Decision Registry. The Board's decision contains information that may be of interest to you, including reasons for the decision.
To find out more about victim services at the Parole Board of Canada, please call the toll-free national Victim Information Line at 1-866-789-INFO (that's 1-866-789-4636). To find out more about conditional release, record suspensions or any other information about the Parole Board of Canada, please visit the Website at www.pbc-clcc.gc.ca.