Victims Rights

You have rights during the criminal justice process
if you are a victim of crime

Under the British Columbia Victims of Crime Act:

You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect by all workers in the criminal justice system;

Your right to general information

If you are a victim of crime, British Columbia’s Victims of Crime Act gives you the right to receive information about:

  • victim services available to you;
  • benefits and financial assistance for criminal injury;
  • how the criminal justice system works; and
  • your rights to privacy.

 Your right to information about the offence

If you are a victim of crime, you have a right, on request, to receive information from the criminal justice system including:

  • status of the police investigation;
  • charges laid against the accused;
  • outcome of court appearances; and
  • where applicable, length of sentence, and location of the convicted offender.

Your right to privacy

If you are a victim of crime, you have rights under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act:

  • to apply for access to information about yourself that is held in justice system files; and
  • to know what information obtained about you is protected from unauthorized use or disclosure.

Your right to financial assistance and benefits

If you or your immediate family member are the victim of a violent crime in British Columbia, the Crime Victim Assistance Act gives you the right to apply for benefits through the Crime Victim Assistance Program to help offset financial loss and assist in dealing with the impact of violent crime.

Your right to provide a Victim Impact Statement

If you are a victim of crime, you have the right to provide information to the court about how the crime has impacted you.

Under the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights:

If you are a victim of certain offences, including all offences under the Criminal Code, the federal Canadian Victims Bill of Rights provides you with the following rights. There are limitations to exercising these rights including that they must be exercised in a manner that is not likely to interfere with the proper administration of justice.

Your right to information

Victims have the right on request to receive general information about the criminal justice system, the victim services and programs available to them, including restorative justice programs, and their right to file a complaint if they believe their rights have been denied or infringed. Victims can also request certain case specific information about the status and outcome of the investigation and prosecution.

Your right to protection

Victims have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, and to have reasonable and necessary protection measures from intimidation and retaliation. Victims also have the right to ask for a testimonial aid or to have their identity protected when appearing as a witness at court appearances.

Your right to participation

Victims have the right to present victim impact statements and have them considered in court. Victims also have the right to express their views about decisions that affect their rights.

Your right to restitution

Victims have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order and have an unpaid restitution order entered as a civil court judgment.

Making a Complaint about the Infringement or Denial of a Victim’s Right

If you believe that your rights have been breached, first file a complaint with the appropriate provincial or federal department or agency. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights requires all provincial and federal departments and agencies that have responsibilities under the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights to have internal complaint mechanisms accessible to victims that would review complaints, make recommendations to correct any infringement, and notify victims about the results of the review.

Where can Victims Go to Make a CVBR Complaint

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP): Complaints about RCMP officers can be made to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission https://www.crcc-ccetp.gc.ca/
  • Municipal Police Department: The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) oversees complaints about police officers employed by independent municipal police departments https://opcc.bc.ca/
  • BC Corrections Branch: For complaints about B.C. Corrections Branch (bail supervisors, probation officers, and correctional officers), victims can speak to the person in charge (e.g., the warden of the correctional facility, the local probation office manager, or the regional probation manager). Visit the BC Corrections webpage for contact information https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/corrections. If the complaint is not resolved, victims can contact the Investigation and Standards Office which is independent of B.C. Corrections https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/iso
  • Crown Counsel: Complaints regarding specific prosecutions, and requests for further information about the Branch’s complaint process, should be directed to the Administrative Crown Counsel in the office responsible for the prosecution.
  • Court Services, including Court registry staff and sheriff services: Victims can speak to the local field office manager. A list of court services locations is available online on the Ministry of Justice website https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/courthouse-services/courthouse-locations
  • Youth Justice – Ministry of Children and Family Development: For complaints about youth justice staff, victims can contact the local Ministry of Children and Family Development office (toll-free: 1-877-387-7027) and ask to speak to a complaints specialist, or email Info@gov.bc.ca
  • Victim Services: For complaints about a local victim service program (police-based or community-based), the Victim Safety Unit, Crime Victim Assistance Program, and the Victim Court Support Program, victims can speak to the victim services worker’s supervisor. If the complaint is not resolved, victims can contact the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General at 604-660-5199 or victimservices@gov.bc.ca and ask to speak to the program manager responsible for the victim service program.
  • Correctional Service of Canada (CSC): CSC’s responsibilities under the CVBR include the provision of general information to victims of crime about the federal corrections and conditional release system. Visit the CSC Victim Complaints page for information on how to make a complaint. https://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/victims/003006-7006-en.shtml
  • Parole Board of Canada (PBC): If you are a victim registered with the PBC and believe that your rights under the CVBR have not been respected, visit the PBC Victims Complaint Process webpage for information on how to file a formal complaint. https://www.canada.ca/en/parole-board/services/victims/pbc-victim-complaint-process.html

The Office of the Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime

If you have exhausted the internal complaints process of a federal department or agency, and you are not satisfied with the outcome of that process, you can contact the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime to express your concerns. The Ombudsman may be able to make recommendations to the department or agency in response to the issues raised within the complaint or regarding the complaint process, or provide the you with information.

You may contact the Ombudsman at:
Telephone (toll-free): 1-866-481-8429
E-mail: victimsfirst@ombudsman.gc.ca