If you are a victim of crime you can expect to be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect. Victim Service Units are staffed with trained, caring people who offer information, assistance and support during the police investigation and throughout the criminal justice process. Programs include:
While no one ever expects to be a victim of crime, it is important to know there is help available to you. Information to assist you has been organized in the following manner:
The Victims of Crime handbook is available here in eleven languages.
If you have been a victim of crime, your first step is to call the police. They will investigate the crime and refer you to the victim services unit for assistance.
If you are in a family violence emergency, call 911 or your local police service. The police can give you an overview of options, such as emergency protection orders. All police services have access to a Victim’s Services Unit that can provide the following:
- Information – a link between you and the justice system to help you obtain the services you need
- Referrals – you may need legal information, counselling financial assistance or other services
- Assistance – if your case goes to court, victim services staff will work with the crown prosecutor’s office and the police to answer your questions, help you prepare for court, accompany you to court if you wish, and ensure you are informed about court dates and the results of the proceedings
If you were injured as a direct result of a violent crime in Alberta, you may be eligible for a one-time financial benefit based on the severity of your injuries. A monthly supplemental benefit may also be available for quadriplegia and the most severe brain injury victims. The benefit amounts are set in the Regulation.
Alberta’s Victims of Crime Act created the Victims of Crime Fund and introduced the Financial Benefits Program in 1997. The fund is fully supported by the surcharges on provincial fines and surcharges imposed by the courts under the Criminal Code of Canada. This fund supports the Financial Benefits Program as well as other victim programs and services.
You may be eligible for financial benefits if:
You have suffered physical or emotional injury as a direct result of being a victim of violent crime that occurred in Alberta
- The crime was reported to police within a reasonable period of time and the victim cooperates with the investigation into the incident
- The application for financial benefits is received within two years of the date of the incidents (in special circumstances there are exceptions to this deadline)
- The applicant cooperates with the Financial Benefits Program and provides authorization to make inquiries and obtain the information necessary to make a decision on the application
The Criminal Injuries Review Board can conduct independent reviews of the financial benefits decisions. This process can take about four months and all decisions are in writing.
Financial Benefits Injury Applications and Death Benefit Applications are available from here, and through local victim service programs associated with local police services. Applications can be submitted to the financial benefits program by mail, fax, or in person. No email applications will be accepted. The application for financial benefits must be received within two years of the date of the incidents; however, there are exceptions to this deadline. Please contact the program at 780-427-7217.
Restitution for Victims of Crime (click here for brochure) in the criminal justice system means payment by an offender to the victim for the harm caused by the offender's wrongful acts.
If you have suffered financial loss as a result of a crime, you may have the right to seek restitution from the offender. You will be asked to complete a Request for Restitution form which will be provided to you by a police officer investigating your case
If you aren’t given a Request for Restitution form, please ask for one. Once you have filled out the form, return it to the police as soon as possible. The police will then send your form to the Crown prosecutor who will determine whether an application will be made to the court. If the Crown decides not to make the application, you can ask the court to do so. If that is the case, you may wish to contact your own lawyer.
Courts can order convicted offenders to pay restitution to victims as part of their sentence. Restitution can cover any out-of-pocket losses directly relating to the crime, including:
- Damage, destruction, and loss of property
- Bodily or psychological harm
- Expenses incurred in moving out of the offender’s house
- Losses incurred by unknowingly purchasing or lending money on stolen property
Under provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a Victim impact statement:
is intended to give victims of crime a voice in the criminal justice system; it allows victims to participate in the sentencing of the offender by explaining to the court and the offender, in their own words, how the crime has affected them.
The Criminal Code is clear – where a victim impact statement has been prepared, the sentencing judge must consider the statement. The judge must also ask, before imposing sentence, whether the victim has been told about the opportunity to prepare a victim impact statement. Additional information is available in the Victim Impact Statement brochure.