Just in advance of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a new income support program for parents who take time off work to cope with the death of disappearance of a child as a result of a crime. The Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children is intended to help ease the financial hardship of parents struggling to cope with the death or disappearance of a child under 18 which occurred as a result of crime. This program will provide affected parents with $350 per week for up to 35 weeks.
At the federal symposium in Ottawa on April 23rd, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced that the government will increase funding to the Victim’s Fund by $7 million over five years, $5 million of which will be directed to the creation and enhancement of Child Advocacy Centres across Canada. Minister Nicholson also announced that the government has amended the terms and conditions of the Victims Fund to allow non-governmental groups serving victims to apply for time-limited operational funding, which is superb news for organizations like the CRCVC.
On April 24, the Minister of Justice announced the introduction of an act to amend the Criminal Code (victim surcharge). The amendment will make convicted offenders more accountable to victims of crime by doubling the victim surcharge that offenders must pay, and ensuring that the surcharge is automatically applied in all cases. This recommendation was made by Steve Sullivan when he served as Canada’s first Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
On April 26, the federal government announced that it will provide $350,000 to establish a Child Advocacy Centre in Halifax. In addition, the Government will contribute more than $2 million in funding to the provincial government for programs to support victims of crime across Nova Scotia.
Victims Week 2012 was incredibly successful and encompassed more than 160 events and projects held in all the provinces and territories, with a federal government investment of more than $1.4 million.