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Report on Victim Services in Ontario: A Voice for Victims

NCJ Number
Date Published
301 pages
This report presents the findings of a comprehensive review of community and public victim services in Ontario (Canada), including the various components of the criminal justice system with which crime victims necessarily interact.
The survey was completed in May 1999. It found significant disparity in the nature of victim services available across Ontario, with no provincial standard for such services. Existing public services were institutionally based, with varying degrees of integration or cooperation that resulted in victims being shuttled to different service providers depending on the stage of the criminal justice process. Public victim services focused on domestic violence/sexual assault victims due to the shortage of resources and the nature and volume of offenses. The inordinate delay in criminal proceedings was a major concern among crime victims, service providers, police, and the Crown. Other concerns were the absence of accountability for Crown attorneys and judges; delays in providing funding to start local victim services or expand existing victim programs; lack of victim awareness of the criminal injuries compensation process; the need for publicly funded, defined trauma counseling for crime victims; and the expansion of counseling and assistance for child victims and their families. Based on the needs identified in the review, this report presents recommendations designed to improve victim services in Ontario and reduce future victimization. It includes recommendations that the government establish a Provincial Victim Service Standard applicable to all victims of crime; that such victim services be delivered through local victim services organized in the 54 court jurisdictions; that core victim services be funded by the Victims' Justice Fund; that the Office of Victims of Crime be permanently established as an agency that reports to the Attorney General; and that domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers be maintained independent of local victim services, but administratively consolidated within a single ministry. A 59-item bibliography, appended supplementary information, charts, and maps