California law requires police officers to tell crime victims about their rights. Why not in Canada?

We can organize a week to raise awareness about crime victims.  Let’s pass legislation to make crime victims aware of what exists to help them.

The 2009 Statistics Canada survey of adults in Canada showed that an abysmal 31% of victims were reporting crime to the police.  In 2004, the same survey showed only 8% of sexual assault victims reporting crime to police.

In 2009, the retiring Chief Justice of Ontario and one of the father´s of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms recommended that police in Ontario inform victims of services and programs because international standards require it and because it will help victims get restitution and compensation.  He also recommended measuring whether victims were receiving the services and programs through social science surveys.  But nothing happened! (

In 2007, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the US Office for Victims of Crime developed a package for police leaders to enhance the response of law enforcement to victims of crime.  Canadian police leadership have been active in the IACP since its founding.  This IACP package called for social science surveys to measure whether victims need were being met – like retired Chief Justice McMurtry.

Let´s get the Federal government to change the RCMP act and work with the Provincial governments and municipalities to help our police officers do what they want to do and make crime victims aware of services and programs that can help them.

Here is the tweet from the California Criminal Injuries Compensation that was retweeted to me by the Canada Resource Centre for Victims of Crime.  “Law enforcement officers don’t just read criminals their rights: they tell crime victims about theirs under Marsy’s Law. #PoliceWeek

PS Marsy´s law, the IACP proposals and ways to gender the police response to victims of violence against women are all discussed in my book Rights for Victims of Crime.

Irvin Waller, Ph.D.
President, International Organization for Victim Assistance
Full Professor, University of Ottawa | | @IrvinWaller

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime offers support, research and education to survivors and stakeholders.

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