Summary of the 2017-18 Review of the National Office for Victims
About the program
- The National Office for Victims (NOV) was created in 2005 in response to a review of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the resulting 2005 Strengthening Community Safety Initiative (SCSI).
- Its purpose was to provide a single point of contact for public enquiries and complaints for victims of federal offenders, as well as to coordinate on policy, communications, and information development with the Correctional Service Canada and the Parole Board of Canada.
- The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR) was enacted in 2015 which formally recognized and entrenched victims' rights throughout the criminal justice system. In addition to its roles and responsibilities under the SCSI, the NOV's mandate was expanded in 2015 to align with the CVBR.
- The NOV's roles and responsibilities are both operational and strategic in nature and include: responding to public enquiries; providing a "victims' lens" on policy and legislation impacting victims of federal offenders; responding to recommendations of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime; developing and disseminating public information products, such as An Information Guide to Assist Victims; conducting research; and engaging in policy and process development.
What we examined
- The review focused on the NOV's ability to fulfil its mandate, with particular attention given to program relevance as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of program activities.
- The review covered the time period from 2012-13 to 2016-17.
What we found
- There is a continuing need for Public Safety to remain engaged in victims' issues and awareness-raising activities. Over the course of the review, interviews conducted with partners and stakeholders demonstrated a varied understanding of the NOV's mandate and priorities.
- Partners placed value on the NOV's strategic role citing the program's provision of a "victims' lens" on policy and legislation impacting victims of federal offenders. In its operational role, the demand for the NOV's direct public services, such as operating the toll-free line, was low.
- Interviewees indicated that the higher workload attributed to some of the NOV's strategic activities has a corresponding and limiting impact upon other mandated responsibilities such as the development of new information products and outreach strategies.
- The review found that the NOV has met its legislated and corporate reporting requirements. However, performance data was not always collected in a consistent or systematic manner, and what was collected focused on the activities and some outputs included in the logic model, rather than program outcomes.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch should:
- Clarify the NOV's mandate and priorities in line with Public Safety Canada's role in victims' services, and ensure appropriate resources and governance to support the scope of its activities.
- Strengthen the NOV's performance measurement and data collection practices (including outcome-oriented performance indicators), and ensure accurate, timely reporting for decision making.
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