Frequently Asked Questions

Information for Victims

I am a victim of crime and the media calls. What do I do?

If the media calls and you are unsure of what to do, the CRCVC offers a FREE media guide for crime victims and survivors. This Guide helps crime victims and survivors work effectively and comfortably with the media (or decline to do so). The CRCVC can also act as a liaison for the media for you. Interacting with the media following victimization is a significant decision for crime victims as media exposure can positively or negatively impact your recovery process. YOU always have a choice about whether to speak to the media or not. If you choose to speak with the media, it is important to understand that you will have little control over what is reported and how it is presented to the public. Never speak “off the record”. Everything you say during an interview is on the record. Take time to prepare for an interview and consider having a support person with you. You may also wish to appoint a spokesperson to deliver consistent messages to the media. If a police investigation is ongoing or criminal proceedings are underway, media coverage can affect this process and potentially impact the criminal case. It is important to discuss what you can and cannot say with the police, Crown Attorney, or victim services before speaking with the media.

I am Canadian and a victim of crime, but I was victimized outside of Canada. Can I receive financial assistance?

Following interventions with several Canadians impacted by terrorism and mass violence outside of Canada, CRCVC voiced the need to develop specialized consular training to better serve crime victims and create a program at the federal level to provide financial assistance to Canadians who are victimized outside of Canada. As of April 1, 2007, a funding program was announced at the federal level (Victims Fund) to provide emergency financial assistance to individual Canadians who are victims of specified serious violent crimes in a foreign jurisdiction for emergencies of undue hardship where no other source of financial assistance is available. Please connect with the CRCVC for more information and for information on other ways we help support Canadians victimized outside of the country.

My loved one is a victim of crime. How can I support them?

There are many ways you can help a loved one who is a victim of a crime.

  • Let them know you believe them and will be there to support them
  • Speak to them, without blame or judgment
  • Allow them to make their own decisions
  • Encourage your loved one to seek supports
  • Be patient
  • Take care of your loved one and yourself

For more information, you can always contact the CRCVC. We offer an online live chat and texting service where victims/survivors, their friends, and families can reach out for support and assistance.

The Canadian Justice System

I want to obtain information/updates on my offender’s correctional plan and progress. What are my rights as a victim?

Victims have the right to:

  • receive information from the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) about an offender’s correctional plan and progress toward meeting the objectives of the plan;
  • have CSC provide access to a photograph of the offender before certain releases into the community; and
  • request access from the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) to listen to an audio recording of a parole hearing if unable to attend in person.

CSC and PBC have also modernized how registered victims can access information with the official launch of the Victims Portal on June 1, 2016. The Victim’s Portal is a secure website where registered victims may obtain information about the federal offenders who harmed them. Victims may use the Portal in addition to, or instead of, the current methods of communication by phone and mail. The Portal will also allow registered victims to manage their information and preferences online. For further information about the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and the other legislation that is currently in effect, please visit CSC’s Victim Services website or PBC’s website.

I don’t want to receive Correctional Service of Canada/Parole Board of Canada notifications directly. What can I do?

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) can act as your representative. We can work with you to assist with your registration to obtain information about the offender who harmed you and to help figure out the best way for you to receive notifications through us. We can also assist by writing advocacy letters on your behalf to Correctional Service of Canada/Parole Board of Canada regarding any applications made by the offender such as institutional transfers, temporary releases, and parole. Further, we offer accompaniment to parole hearings.

What is the difference between a Restraining Order and a Peace Bond?

A Restraining Order is an order from a Family Court that says that a person is not allowed to do certain things. The conditions that are put in place by the Restraining Order limit things an abusive partner can do to help protect you and your children.

These limitations would include things such as:

  • Not allowing them to communicate with you and your children (by any means)
  • Not allowing them to be within a certain distance of you, wherever you are
  • Not allowing them to be within a certain distance of specific places that you frequently visit.

It is against the law for someone to not follow the conditions set in place by a Restraining Order and failure to follow these conditions can lead to a criminal charge. Someone cannot apply for a Restraining Order against someone they dated but did not live with or have a child with.

A peace bond is a criminal court order that sets out specific conditions to protect the safety of others or property. It can be ordered where there is a reasonable fear that another person will cause personal injury to them or their family, will damage his/her property, or where there is a reasonable fear that another person will commit a sexual offence against them. Peace bonds are often used in cases of family violence and stalking. They include specific terms that may, for example, forbid the defendant from calling, contacting, or visiting the applicant’s home or workplace, forbid them from carrying firearms or ammunition, or require that they go to counselling. A Peace Bond does not cost anything, and you do not need a lawyer to get one.

CRCVC would be happy to assist you if you have further questions or concerns regarding restraining orders or peace bonds. You can also learn more through our publications on Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds.

Will the media be present in court? Can the public be banned from the courtroom?

Any proceedings against an accused are held in open court, therefore the public and the press may be there. However, there are exceptions to this. Under section 486.(1) of the Criminal Code, if the presiding judge is of the opinion that it is in the interest of public morals, the maintenance of order, or the proper administration of justice to exclude all or any members of the public from the courtroom for all or part of the proceedings, he/she may so order. This, for example, may often be the case where the accused is charged with a sexual offence and the victim is a child. Moreover, you can also ask the Crown to apply to the presiding judge for a publication ban. Under section 486(3) of the Criminal Code, the presiding judge or justice may make an order directing that the identity of a complainant or witness and any information that could disclose the identity of him/her, shall not be published in any document or broadcast in any way when an accused is charged with a violent or sexual offence. Nonetheless, it is important to note that where a publication ban has been ordered, it does not necessarily mean that the press will not be there, it just means that they cannot use certain information regarding a witness or victim in newspapers or broadcasts. This is usually the standard practice with sex offences. Although a publication ban does not exclude the press from being in the court, the judge can in some cases clear the courtroom and exclude the public from the proceedings.

How do I report a crime to the police?

If you wish to report a crime to the police, you can call your jurisdiction’s non-emergency line for non-emergent crimes or go to your local police station to file a report. You may be entitled to bring a support person with you, or request that the officer taking the report be of a certain gender (i.e. sexual assault cases). Some jurisdictions will allow you to report a crime online. Please check your jurisdiction’s website for more information about filing an online report. If you are uncomfortable at any time, tell the officer or detective. The actual procedures for reporting a crime vary by jurisdiction, so you should check with your local police. When you do report a crime you will likely be required to make a statement.

About the CRCVC

I am a victim of crime. I want to access supports, but I do not want to go to the police. Can the CRCVC help me?

Victims do not require a police report to access our services and the CRCVC will further connect victims to additional services if required. The CRCVC can connect you to various crime victim assistance programs, including counselling, emergency shelter, crisis intervention, amongst many other services. The CRCVC believes victims must be empowered to regain control of their lives. Please contact us at crcvc@crcvc.ca if you have more questions.

I am a victim of crime and I am seeking resources and information on victimization and the criminal justice system. Can the CRCVC help?

The CRCVC actively works to disseminate knowledge to the public through reports and publications in the media, social media, our monthly newsletter, and our website. We also work to promote and enhance the interaction and exchange of information and perspectives among agencies and groups within the Canadian Criminal Justice System, and the international victim services community.

Please visit our website to find several CRCVC publications for victims and survivors seeking information. You can also view and sign up for our monthly newsletter where you will find articles affecting victims of crime, victims service workers, and other criminal justice professionals. You can find updates on legislation and policy affecting victims of crime and their families, victims’ rights, and other issues affecting public safety in our monthly newsletter; EMPOWER. Further, we understand the criminal justice system can be very overwhelming for victims, especially for those who are unfamiliar with it. CRCVC can assist victims in navigating the criminal justice system. We can help you find resources, fill out paperwork, and explain the different options available to you to empower decision-making. CRCVC offers an online live chat and texting service where victims/survivors, their friends, and families can reach out for support and assistance.

I have lost someone to violence and I am seeking support. Where can I find support?

CRCVC offers a monthly virtual “Loss to Violence” support group every last Thursday of the month. The group is for family members, friends, and close loved ones of homicide victims and offers peer support to those dealing with violent loss. This program is co-facilitated by CRCVC Executive Director, Aline Vlasceanu and Donna Watson-Elliott, Manager of the Victim Crisis Unit from the Ottawa Police Association. The program provides peer support in helping support those who have experienced a violent loss; this is accomplished by discussing various themes such as feelings of anger, how to cope, criminal justice matters, how to support others, how to work through trauma and share stories of healing and resiliency. Please RSVP by phone at 1-877-232-2610 or via email at crcvc@crcvc.ca.

How does the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime work towards advocating for victim rights?

The CRCVC strives to promote the rights of victims, to ensure their needs are met by the justice system and that their voices are heard in the drafting of legislation and policy that affects them. The CRCVC takes a broad approach in its focus on victims, advocating to ensure that victims’ interests are considered in many forms of legislation. The Centre is frequently asked to present the victim’s perspective to the government, at all levels. Many submissions have been made over the years. To read these submissions, click here.

I would love to support the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime and the work that they do. How can I support the organization?

You can have an immediate impact on the life of a victim of crime in Canada. All you have to do is click here and give what you can. The CRCVC is a charitable organization and provides all services free of charge. The CRCVC believes victims must be empowered to regain control of their lives and provides services to meet the diverse needs of all people regardless of race, colour, religion, place of origin, income level, marital status, family status, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

For additional support and information, you can contact our Director of Development, Bernard, at 1-877-232-2610 or by email at bernard@crcvc.ca.

What languages does the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime offers their services?

The CRCVC offers services in both national languages – English and French. We also offer services in Romanian, Punjabi, and Hindi.

How can I receive information about the CRCVC’s work and get updates about news affecting victims of crime throughout Canada?

The CRCVC has a monthly newsletter: EMPOWER. The newsletter keeps you informed about the work of the CRCVC. Each month you will find articles and updates affecting victims of crime, victim service workers, and other criminal justice professionals. To receive EMPOWER, sign up by clicking here.

The CRCVC can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow us @CRCVC

Can the CRCVC provide me with legal advice?

The CRCVC does not provide legal advice, however, we can provide legal information. For legal information on the Canadian criminal justice system, please visit our publication on Navigating the Canadian Criminal Justice System: A Guide for Victims. If you need further assistance, please contact the CRCVC to connect with one of our victim support workers. If you need legal advice, the CRCVC will also be able to provide you with contact numbers to agencies providing legal advice and support you in connecting with these agencies.