The reasonable and legitimate needs of victims need to be accommodated while respecting the rights of all parties in the criminal justice system.
Services need to be provided to victims of violent crimes that are comparable to those provided to the offenders.
As part of their healing, victims need to have opportunities for involvement in the criminal justice process. It is important however, to avoid another adversarial situation as the needs of victims are addressed.
The Criminal Code allows victims to make impact statements to the courts as long as they focus on the harm done to them or their losses. Victims should similarly have the opportunity to present impact statements to National Parole Board hearings in person or by other means. These statements need to be directed to the harm done to them by crime and the long term impact it has had on their lives. They must avoid seeking veto authority on the release of offenders.
Offenders should not be able to profit from their criminal acts at the expense of their victims. As a result we support court imposed restitution orders where practicable.
In addition, provincial victim compensation boards should assist victims of crime in addressing their urgent physical, emotional and financial needs.
The criminal courts have long recognized a role for victims. Section 722 of the Criminal Code lays out the parameters for such a role with procedures for filing written impact statements and subsequent oral presentation in court.
Since the 1992 passage of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, under sections 26 and 142, victims have a right to request and receive information regarding an offender including parole eligibility dates, release dates and conditions of release. Victims may also request to be present at parole hearings where their views may be presented in written format. Proposed changes to the CCRA if legislated, would further allow victims to make an oral statement at the parole hearing.