Victim Safety Project Grants
The Victim Safety Project is a two-year, $4.5-million initiative between the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General, funded through the Victims' Justice Fund. The Victims' Justice Fund is a special purpose account established under the Victims' Bill of Rights and funded from fine surcharges imposed under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Provincial Offences Act
The Victims' Justice Fund is dedicated exclusively to assisting victims of Criminal Code offences. Victims' Justice Fund grant applicants are required to provide a description of how their proposal will assist victims of Criminal Code offences as specified in the Victims' Bill of Rights.
Members of a committee, including justice sector partner representatives from the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ontario Provincial Police reviewed a total of 22 applications last fall. Eight proposals totalling $875,000 received first round funding in 2008.
List Of Projects Awarded Funding
- Caledon/Dufferin Victim Services ($45,000): This project enhances services to victims of high-risk offenders. A CD-ROM containing safety planning information will be available to victims who live in remote communities where victim support and assistance are less accessible.
- Greater Sudbury Police Service ($150,000): This project offers training to front-line officers with an emphasis on victim notification and services available to victims. A coordinator is to be hired to maintain a registry of victim contacts and assist in the development and maintenance of a web page containing updated information about offenders for victims and members of the community.
- Hamilton Police Service ($140,000): This grant assists Hamilton Police Service in offering state-of-the-art technology to its vulnerable population. Through a Global Position System victim tracking and messaging device, victims receive up-to-date information about the offender based on police information and real-time information that probation and parole services may wish to share.
- Ottawa Police Service ($70,000): This grant assists the Ottawa Police Victim Crisis Unit in hiring a victim crisis worker who will review files, conduct clinical assessments, provide safety plans and offer post trauma counselling to victims and referral to community partners. The worker will also provide victims with information on reporting procedures to ensure a timely response to breach of conditions.
- Oxford Community Police Service ($143,000): This project leads to improved accountability between local High-Risk Offender Response Team members, effective information sharing and better coordination of case management efforts in monitoring offenders and assessing risk. Specialized safety planning and risk assessment training are offered to victim services, Crown attorneys and probation and parole officers.
- Victim Services of Middlesex County ($150,000): The project develops focus groups including victims, victim crisis and referral services staff, police, Crown attorneys, probation and parole officers, and, when appropriate, offenders. Using the information gathered from the focus groups, an educational video and information package is under production to address service gaps and support the needs of victims.
- Victim Services of Wellington ($89,000): A victim notification and safety coordinator was hired to help shorten the time between offender release and victim notification, and to notify victims of the outcome of hearings when the offender is not released.
- Victim Services of Windsor and Essex County ($91,000): A project coordinator was hired to increase victim/community safety by addressing gaps in services to victims. The coordinator's role is to develop a police in-service training tool; create and facilitate a service provider public education training session; create terms of reference for a high-risk case management review team; and create a community safety plan pamphlet on safety precautions for the release of a high-risk offender.
A portion of the grant funding will be used to offer a provincewide training symposium. The training will ensure that police services, Crown attorneys and community-based victim service agencies are provided with information and materials on victim safety and victim notification. Attendees will also be provided with the ministry's guidelines of the Policing Standards Manual on Police Response to High-Risk Individuals.