The Rights of Victims in Criminal Proceedings: Support and Compensation

In the Canadian criminal justice system, the focus has traditionally been on the rights of the accused. However, over the years, there has been increased recognition of the importance of protecting the rights of victims as well. Victims of crime often endure significant physical, emotional, and financial hardships. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with appropriate support and compensation throughout the criminal proceedings. 

This article aims to shed light on the rights of victims in Canada and the measures in place to ensure they receive the necessary assistanc

Rights of Victims

I. Understanding the Rights of Victims

  • Recognition of Victims’ Rights

    In recent years, Canada has taken significant steps to enhance the rights of victims in criminal proceedings. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, enacted in 2015, acknowledges that victims have a right to information, protection, participation, and restitution.

  • Right to information

  • Victims have the right to be informed about the progress of the case, including the charges, court dates, and the final outcome. They should also receive information about available support services and resources.

  • Right to protection

    Victims should be protected from intimidation, harassment, and retaliation throughout the legal process. This includes measures such as publication bans, restraining orders, and the provision of a safe environment for testifying.

  • Right to Participation

    Victims have the right to participate in criminal proceedings, including giving a victim impact statement during sentencing hearings. Their views and concerns should be taken into account to the extent possible.

  • Right to restitution

    Victims have the right to seek restitution for the harm they have suffered, including financial losses resulting from the crime. This may involve compensation for medical expenses, property damage, or loss of income.

II. Support for Victims

  • Victim support services

    In Canada, various support services are available to assist victims throughout the criminal justice process. These services may include counselling, crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals to other agencies. Victim service providers are trained professionals who offer emotional support and guidance to victims.

  • Witness assistance programs

    Witness assistance programs aim to alleviate the stress and anxiety experienced by victims who are called upon to testify in court. These programs provide information about court procedures, accompany victims during court appearances, and offer emotional support.

  • Restorative justice programs

    Restorative justice programs provide victims with an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the offender, express their feelings, and seek answers to their questions. These programs aim to promote healing and give victims a sense of closure.

III. Compensation for Victims

  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

    The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) is a government agency that provides financial compensation to victims of violent crimes. The compensation is intended to cover expenses such as medical treatment, counselling, loss of income, and funeral costs. Victims can apply to the CICB for compensation, and decisions are made based on specific eligibility criteria.

  • Victim Fine Surcharge

    The Victim Fine Surcharge is an additional penalty imposed on offenders upon conviction. The surcharge funds are used to support provincial and territorial victim services, including counselling, emergency shelters, and community-based victim support programs.

  • Legal Representation

    It is important for victims to have access to legal representation to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and ensure their rights are protected. Legal professionals can provide guidance, advocate on their behalf, and assist in seeking appropriate compensation.


Canada has made significant progress in recognizing and protecting the rights of victims, providing them with information, protection, participation, and restitution. Victim support services, witness assistance programs, and restorative justice initiatives are available to assist victims throughout the legal process. 

Remember, as a victim, you have rights, and there are resources available to support you. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime, seek assistance from victim support services, contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and get a legal representation to help you navigate the criminal justice system. Together, we can work towards a more inclusive and supportive justice system that respects the rights and needs of victims in Canada.