Legislation


Welcome to the Police Victim Services of British Columbia!

Laws and Legislation Related to Victim Services
in British Columbia

Both the federal government and provincial governments have powers related to criminal law. The federal government is responsible for making criminal laws that apply across the country and setting the procedure for criminal courts. This ensures fair and consistent treatment of criminal matters across the country. The provinces and territories are primarily responsible for enforcing the law, prosecuting offences, administering justice in general within their own jurisdictions and providing services and assistance to victims of crime.

How does this translate to victim services?

Most of our criminal law is found in the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code lists criminal offences and also sets out the procedures for a criminal case, from the laying of the charge to sentencing and appeals. Legislation concerning victims of crime can also be found in other federal, provincial and territorial statutes. Both federal laws and provincial and territorial laws address the concerns of victims of crime such as:

  • entitlement to information,
  • services and assistance, and
  • a victim’s role in criminal proceedings.

Provincial Legislation

In British Columbia, there are two key pieces of legislation that guide the delivery of victim services: (1) The Victim of Crime Act and (2) The Crime Victim Assistance Act. Under the Victim of Crime Act, if you are a victim of crime in BC, you are entitled to receive information about:

  • The victim services available to you
  • The opportunity to have admissible evidence concerning the impact of the offence presented to the court before sentence is imposed for the offence
  • The benefits and financial assistance for criminal injury
  • How the criminal justice system works
  • The status of the police investigation
  • The charges laid against the offender
  • The status of the court case
  • The outcome of court appearance
  • The administration of the offender’s sentence such as length of sentence, location of jail, eligibility and review dates of the offender’s custody status
  • Your rights to privacy

The Crime Victim Assistance Act applies to those who have been injured physically or psychologically as a result of certain crimes. Under this Act, victims of certain types of crime are eligible for compensation to assist with the costs of criminal injuries. For example, one may qualify for counselling expenses or medical expenses not covered by medical service plan and income support.

Federal Legislation

On July 23, 2015 the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights came into force providing victims of crimes with statutory rights at the federal level to information, protection, participation and restitution, and ensures that a complaint process is in place for breaches of these rights.

  • The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights defines who victims of crime are and who can act on their behalf.
  • The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights legislates the rights of victims to: Information, Protection, Participation and Restitution.
  • The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights sets out conditions limiting the exercising of rights and administering of the bill.
  • The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights introduces new measures to support rights to information, protection, participation, restitution and remedy.

For additional information on the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights or resources please visit (click on links below):