The Ontario government asked Roy McMurtry to make recommendations on victim services following the Ombudsman’s report on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB).
McMurtry’s advice is supposed to help the province by:
– providing victims of crime with a single point of access to supports and services in their communities through a new website and toll-free victim support telephone line;
– working with local com-munity victim services, police, and Crown attorneys to develop a protocol for informing victims about the services available; and
– reporting annually on funded victim services.
Ontario will use McMurtry’s report to build on improvements made to victim services since the Ombudsman’s report in 2007, including:
– spending nearly $115-million in the CICB to benefit approximately 9,000 victims of crime and their families.
– reducing the CICB’s caseload by hearing 40 per cent more cases than before, which means approximately 1,000 more victims had cases processed this year compared to last year;
– providing assistance by the victim quick response program, which covers emergency expenses in the immediate aftermath of violent crime; and
– completing 90 per cent of the recommendations made in the Ombudsman’s Report on the CICB.
McMurtry said Ontario “has been, and continues to be, a leader in providing assistance to victims of crime.”
Attorney General Chris Bentley said of the report, “Mr. McMurtry offers us helpful advice on how we can do more for victims when they most need our compassion and support.”
McMurtry said, “I strongly believe that ‘crime victims are often the forgotten individuals of the criminal justice system’ and am therefore pleased by Attorney General Bentley’s commitment to ‘do more for victims when they most need our compassion and support.’ ”
Since 2003-04 over $546.3-million has been spent on victim services. Ontario’s new program provides outreach to victims of domestic violence within 24 hours.