National Office for Victims
On November 1, 2005, the Government of Canada created the National Office for Victims within the Department of Public Safety. The National Office for Victims is a single, national point of contact for victims who have concerns about offenders and questions about the federal correctional system and the Canadian justice system. This is the first place they can start to ask those questions and get them answered.
While we are a central resource that offers information to victims, we also provide input on policy and legislative initiatives, education about victims' issues for members of the criminal justice system, and networking and support to the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada*.
* Please note that the National Parole Board is now known as the Parole Board of Canada.
What We Do
The National Office for Victims operates a toll-free phone line that victims or members of the general public may call free of charge, from anywhere in Canada or the United States. We answer questions from callers and refer victims to other federal or provincial departments and agencies that will provide them with direct services. We also:
- Write and publish information packages and guides for victims, victim service providers and the general public.
- Promote awareness of the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada's services for victims of federal offenders.
- Represent victims' perspectives in developing policy.
- Provide members of the criminal justice system, the general public and staff of Public Safety Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada with information and input about victims' issues, and develop communication materials for victims of federal offenders.
- Work with the provinces and territories to exchange information about victims' services and promote the services that exist.
- Lead inter-departmental and inter-jurisdictional discussions and policy development sessions on issues related to victims.
How the National Office for Victims can help you
Whether you are working for a victim services' organization in one of Canada's provinces or territories, have been the victim of a crime, or have had a family member become a victim of crime, the National Office for Victims can help. Our office offers information about federal corrections issues, the conditional release system, and provides information to victims and the general public.
By calling our toll-free number, you will reach a staff member who can answer your questions or direct you to the federal or provincial program that is best able to help you.
Our goal is to provide information about federal corrections and the conditional release system, and to refer you to people who can help you directly. For example, we can link you with victims' services in your province or territory.
Victim: According to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, a victim is someone who was harmed or who suffered physical or emotional damage as the result of an offence. If a victim has died, is ill, or is otherwise unable to act for him or herself, the victim's spouse, common-law partner, relative, dependant or anyone who has in law or fact custody or is responsible for the care or support of the victim may request and receive information on behalf of the victim.
In order to receive information, an individual must register with either the Correctional Service of Canada or the Parole Board of Canada.
Federal offender: A federal offender is someone who has been sentenced to two years or more in a penitentiary. The Correctional Service of Canada is responsible for federal offenders.
Provincial offenders: A provincial offender is someone who is serving a sentence of less than two years. The correctional service in the province or territory where the offender was sentenced is responsible for provincial offenders.
The Parole Board of Canada may grant, deny or revoke the parole of all offenders except those serving less than two years in Ontario and Quebec. Ontario and Quebec have established provincial parole boards that grant, deny or revoke parole for offenders serving less than two years in their provinces.
Toll-Free Calling for Victims
Victims may call 1-866-525-0554 free of charge from anywhere in Canada or the United States.
A large part of the National Office of Victims' mandate is to publish and distribute information products letting victims, organizations that help victims, and members of the general public know what services are available through the federal government. Our publications include:
- Preparing Victims for the Release of a Federal Offender
- Overview of Federal Corrections and Criminal Justice - Victim-Centred Information and Assistance
- An Information Guide to Assist Victims. Every victim who registers with the Correctional Service of Canada or the Parole Board of Canada receives this comprehensive overview of the federal corrections and conditional release system.
- Victims of Crime: Staying Informed is a smaller, pocket-sized version of the Information Guide.
These booklets are available in English, French, Arabic, Inuktitut, Plains Cree, Ojibway, Chinese, Punjabi, Tagalog, Cantonese, Denesuline, Innu Aimun, Italian, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Urdu and Korean.
- A Need Information? poster with tear-away pads.
To order National Office for Victim publications, please complete the Publication Order Form.
Consultation on Victims Bill of Rights
The Government of Canada is seeking the views of stakeholders representing provincial and territorial governments, a variety of sectors within the criminal justice system, civil society, victims of crime, and the public as it develops a Victims Bill of Rights. For more information: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/victims-victimes/vrights-droitsv/
For More Information
To find out more about victim services, you may contact your local police force, search the Yellow Pages for "victim services," or go to the following websites: