Improving the Justice System for Victims

CSC reporting on Ombudsman’s position on victim rights

Improving Justice for Victims

“The system needs to be more flexible and adaptable in terms of particularly with people that participate, for example, vulnerable victims such as children, older persons, persons with disabilities.”

One of the reports also suggests putting victims at the centre of the debate over proposed plea bargains by allowing the court to hear from them before a guilty plea is made “in order to have the opportunity to have their views heard and considered.” The report notes variations of this kind of law exist in Colorado and California. The ombudsman also advocated for having victims make submissions to the court when a decision might affect their safety, such as in a bail hearing.

Questionnaire for Victims of Crime and Trauma

The Bow Valley Victim Services Association, in conjunction with the Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association is undertaking a very exciting project – asking victims of crime and trauma across Alberta if the services we provided were of help and met their needs.

But for this project to succeed, we need your help. We are therefore inviting you to complete this voluntary and anonymous questionnaire if you have ever received assistance from a police-based victim service program in Alberta. This questionnaire is accessible via Survey Monkey at – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BVVS_VictimNeeds

Once complete, the results from this study will help all police-based victim service programs better understand the services we provide, which in turn will assist others who have experienced crime or a traumatic event.

Media Release re: Auditor General’s Report into VOCF – February 11, 2016

Statement from the Alberta Police-Based Victim Service Association (APBVSA) regarding the Auditor General’s Report into the Victims of Crime Fund

The APBVSA, a non-profit group that supports all 76 police-based programs who in turn provide support to 153 service delivery areas acknowledges the findings of the Auditor General’s Report into the Victims of Crime Fund (VOCF) that was released February 10, 2016.

In December of 2015 the APBVSA had the opportunity to meet with Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley as well as contribute to the Auditor General’s review of the VOCF.   Both were very productive and positive meetings where the Association had the opportunity to discuss the numerous successes and challenges faced by Victim Service Programs across the Province.

The APBVSA acknowledges that some of our programs are underfunded and understaffed while we have seen an overall increase in violent crime over the years.  During that time, funding has remained stagnant, or in some cases incurred a reduction.  We appreciate that the Auditor General has acknowledged that and made specific recommendations to address those issues.  We are also aware that some of the barriers and challenges faced by the VOCF program management are as a result of Treasury Board’s budgetary process.  These are all issues that have been in existence for numerous years and that have contributed to the increase in the surplus.

The APBVSA continues to be involved in positive discussions with staff from the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Department as well as the Director of Victim Services.  We trust that the new Government and Minister are now fully aware of some of the long standing issues with the VOCF and that they are committed to putting in place business and budgeting practices that continue to support and enhance existing police-based victim services programs, victims of crime and the citizens of Alberta.

 

Brian Turpin
President, APBVSA
Program Manager, Peace Regional Victim Services
Contact:  admin@victimservicesalberta.com