A victim is described as a person or business who has suffered harm or loss as a result of an offence.
Harm may include:
In their search for assistance, victims may become involved in the Criminal Justice System. During this time, they have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. As well, involvement in the Criminal Justice System should not cause further inconveniences for the victim.
When an individual violates the law, the action is a violation again all members of society and should be treated as such. Therefore, everyone should take responsibility for helping victims of crime and victims should receive all the help and assistance they may need.
Victims have a right to be safe from becoming re-victimized. In any situation where safety is a concern, measures should be taken to ensure the protection of victims, their dependants, guardians, and spouses.
There are many services within the community that can help victims of crime. These services may be social, legal, medical, and mental health services that help victims respond to their needs. Often there are more people affected by a crime than the victim, such as dependants, guardians, and spouses. Resources should also be accessible for these individuals, where appropriate.
Victims should have access to information about services from which they may benefit and should receive assistance in making use of those services. Victims should have access to the following information:
Another option for victims to explore are resources other than court procedures, such as using a mediator to resolve situations and determine financial or other restitution. Restitution is a financial payment that must be made either to the court or directly to the individual. When matters are addressed in a court setting, court officials and representatives should consider the needs of the victim. For example, whether or not a victim is entitled to restitution should be addressed in making a final decision about the matter.
When you have been a victim of a crime that someone has been charged with and there is a finding of guilt, you are eligible to write a Victim Impact Statement. A Victim Impact Statement is a voluntarily written statement completed by a victim of a criminal offence.
A victim may include:
As a victim, you may notify Victim Service Coordinator that you wish to complete a Victim Impact Statement. Since writing a statement is voluntary, you always have the choice to not write one, even if a request is made by the court. If you choose, the Victim Impact Statement can be read aloud in court. The court must be made aware that this is the wish of the victim prior to the sentencing hearing.
A statement is your opportunity to tell the judge about how you have been impacted by a crime. It allows you, in your own words, to tell the court of any physical, emotional/psychological, financial impacts that the crime has had on your life.
The Victim Impact Statement should not include:
Once filed with the nearest Victim Services Coordinator, and a finding of guilt is made, the Victim Impact Statement is then given to: the court, crown prosecutor, offender or defence attorney for the offender. The statement is provided before sentencing and is taken into consideration by the court.
You, as a victim, do not have to appear at the sentencing hearing unless requested to do so by the court. You should be prepared to answer any questions about the Victim Impact Statement that may be asked by the court. At any time, the Judge or crown prosecutor may ask you questions about what has been written in the statement.
If you have been the victim of a crime and would like more information about Victim Services or writing a Victim Impact Statement, you can contact any of the following locations: