WHITEHORSE—Yukon’s justice minister provided input today to the Government of Canada at a consultation in Ottawa seeking stakeholders’ views on the development of a Canadian Victims’ Bill of Rights.
“We are committed to treating victims with courtesy, compassion and respect in order to ensure that they are able to participate in the justice system in a way that respects their dignity and safety,” Justice Minister Mike Nixon said. “During this week’s consultation, I was pleased to share information about the success of Yukon’s recently created Victims of Crime Act and Victims’ Bill of Rights.”
In 2011, Yukon proclaimed the Victims of Crime Act. The bill of rights is an important part of this legislation and encourages the participation of victims in the justice process with a view to preserving their dignity and decreasing their suffering.
In recent years, the Justice department has focused its efforts on improving services to victims through the Victims of Crime Strategy. This includes the creation of a Victims of Crime Emergency Fund; the development of the Lynx project for child and youth victims and witnesses; development and implementation of a communications strategy to better communicate services to victims; enhanced rural capacity; and support to interagency approaches such as the Sexual Assault Response Committee.
“We are continually working to improve services to victims to ensure that their voices are heard within the justice system,” Nixon added. “A national victims’ bill of rights would complement the Yukon Victims’ Bill of Rights to entrench these rights in law.”
To recognize National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, the Victim Services branch of the Yukon government will host a Victims’ Forum on May 1, where victims and service providers can share experiences and have an opportunity to network. The forum will highlight victim-centred approaches and provide an opportunity for service providers to reflect on their role and learn firsthand about the experience of victims within the justice system.
Nixon will present information about a federal victims’ bill of rights to the Yukon Victims of Crime Advisory Committee on May 2. He will also seek feedback from the group, which he will share with Canada’s Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.