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The Victims Bill of Rights Act

100 Mile House Free Press - The Victims Bill of Rights Act recently introduced in the House is intended to correct gaps in the system identified during investigations into Canada's missing and murdered women. Kamloops-Thompson-Nicola MP Cathy McLeod was on Ottawa's Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women, which recently released a report with its findings and recommendations. She says the proposed legislation sets down clear rights for victims that were not there previously, and reflects some of the committee's key recommendations. "When I was on the committee looking into the very tragic issue of murdered and missing Aboriginal women, we had an opportunity to hear directly from the families. We heard many, many times how, as victims there were some real gaps for them. So I am really proud of this piece of legislation that is moving forward."

The Victims Bill of Rights Act would create four statutory rights for victims of crime: the right to information, protection, participation and restitution, she explains. Most revolve around the sharing of information with victims about the criminal justice system, court cases, sentencing and conditional releases of the person who harmed them. It includes stronger protections for victims' privacy and safety during all stages of the criminal justice process, and allows them to comment on court decisions and provide a victim's statement. It would provide victims with the ability to ask the court to order restitution for offences with easily calculated financial losses. The legislation would also ensure a complaint process is in place for breaches of these rights.