Federal Government Supports Victims Week Event in St. Thomas

Victims Week follows historic introduction of legislation to create aCanadian Victims Bill of Rights

Representatives of Joe Preston, Member of Parliament and Member of Provincial Parliament Jeff Yurek attended a local community event for the ninth annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (Victims Week).

Victims Week 2014 is being held across Canada from April 6th to 12th with the theme “Taking Action”. Victims Week raises awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs and laws in place to help victims and their families.

Joined by top law enforcement officials, and others, Mayor Heather Jackson proclaimed National Victims of Crime Awareness Week in St. Thomas today at City Hall. The Mayoral Proclamation and Flag Raising ceremony was hosted by Victim Services Elgin. Victim Services Elgin assists victims of crime and tragic circumstances in Elgin County through a program called the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service (VCARS). It is a community response program that provides a variety of immediate and short-term crisis intervention services. Emotional support, practical assistance, safety planning, and appropriate referrals to community resources are a few of the services offered. www.victimserviceselgin.org

Last week, the Federal Government took action to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system by introducing legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights would transform the criminal justice system by entrenching rights at the federal level for victims of crime for the first time in Canadian history. An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca.

Quick Facts

  • Through the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice Canada, victim-serving organizations were provided with up to $10,000 in funding to host events during Victims Week. This year, more than 180 events and projects will be held across the country, with a federal government investment of more than $1.2 million.
  • By introducing legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, the Federal Government is delivering on a commitment from the 2013 Speech from the Throne, a commitment that was reinforced in Budget 2014. The legislation is also in line with the Government’s Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which focuses on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system.

Quotes

Victims Week is also a time to acknowledge the work of victim service providers and their dedication to assisting victims of crime. The National Victims of Crime Awareness Week’s theme is ‘Taking Action’ which is fitting as Victim Services Elgin will be hosting an event for their Crisis Responders who give countless hours of their time to assist victims and their families. We will be thanking them for Taking Action.”

Terra Pieters

Assistant Manager at Victim Services Elgin

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