Introduction to Law for Victims of Crime (4:I)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 1, 2023.

Victims of crime require a wide variety of assistance depending on their needs. This chapter will outline the avenues an individual can take to address being a victim of crime.

In 2015, Parliament enacted the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, SC 2015, c 13, s 2 [CVBR], which came into force on July 23, 2015. The CVBR recognizes that victims of crime and their families deserve to be treated with compassion and respect, and have the right to be considered throughout the criminal justice system. In particular, the CVBR acknowledges that victims of crime have the following rights:

  • the right to information about the criminal justice system, the services and programs available to victims of crime, and the complaint procedures available to victims when their rights have been infringed or denied
  • the right to information about the status of criminal proceedings and information about hearings after the accused is found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder or is found to be unfit to stand trial
  • the right to have their security and privacy considered by the appropriate authorities in the criminal justice system
  • the right to protection from intimidation and retaliation
  • the right to request testimonial aids
  • the right to have the courts consider making a restitution order against the offender
  • the right to have a restitution order entered as a civil court judgment that is enforceable against the offender if the amount owing under the restitution order is not paid

The CVBR provides victims of crime the right to make a complaint to the relevant federal, provincial, or territorial department, agency, or body if they believe that any of their rights under the Act have been infringed or denied (s 25). It is important to note, however, that the CVBR does not create a civil cause of action for victims (s 28) nor does it grant victims the status of party to criminal proceedings.

NOTE: Sexual harassment is considered a form of gender discrimination under human rights legislation. Canadian human rights law imposes a statutory duty on employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment. Corporate employers are also liable for sexual harassment. For information concerning sexual harassment, consult Chapter 6: Human Rights; and Chapter 9: Employment Law.

© Copyright 2023, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.