While no one ever expects to be a victim of crime, it's important to know that help is available to you. If you're 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.
These services and programs are available to victims of crime:
Contact your local Victim Service Unit to obtain more information and to request assistance and support for these services.
The Victims of Crime handbook is available in eleven languages. It provides information on what victims can expect from the justice system and the programs that are available to them.
If you've been a victim of crime, your first step is to call the police. They will investigate the crime and refer you to the Victim Service Unit for assistance.
If you're 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 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're informed about court dates and the results of the proceedings
The Financial Benefits Program acknowledges victims of violent crime by providing a monetary benefit for victims who:
- were physically and / or psychologically injured as a direct result of the crime
- witnessed a crime that resulted in the death of someone close to them
- need reimbursment of funeral expenses
There is also a monthly supplemental financial benefit for victims who are quadriplegic or suffered a severe brain injury rendering them dependent on others for their care, as a result of the crime.
The amounts of benefits are listed in the Victims of Crime Regulation
All injuries must be verified by the medical professional (ie, doctor or counsellor) who treated you for your injuries.
Applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria outlined in the Victims of Crime Act and the Victims of Crime Regulation to receive a benefit. You may be eligible for financial benefits if:
- you were the victim of one of the eligible offences listed in the Victims of Crime Regulation (schedule 1)
- the crime happened in Alberta. You don't need to live here to be eligible.
- you reported the crime to police within a reasonable period of time
- you co-operated with the investigation into the incident
- your application was received within two years of the date of the crime. In special circumstances this can be extended; do not wait for a conviction before applying.
- if you're under the age of 18 when the crime occurs, you have until age 28 to submit your application
You may not be eligible if:
- you have a lengthy criminal record of violent offences
- your actions contributed to your injuries
- you were injured in a motor vehicle incident
- you were not the direct victim, except if you witnessed the death
If you received injuries as a direct result of a crime, OR if you're applying due to psychological injuries caused by witnessing someone close to you die from violent crime, fill out:
Injury Application form
If you're applying for reimbursment of funeral expenses, fill out:
Death Benefit Application form
These application forms are also available through your local Victim Services Unit and community organizations that provide services to victims of crime, or by calling the Financial Benefits Program at 310-0000 or 780-427-7217.
Victims of Crime Fund
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.
Restitution for victims of crime in the criminal justice system means payment by an offender to the victim for the damages or financial loss a victim incurred as a result of the crime.
Restitution for Victims of Crime brochure
If you've suffered financial loss as a result of a crime, you may have the right to seek restitution from the offender. You'll be asked to complete a Request for Restitution form, which will be provided to you by the police officer investigating your case.
If you aren't given a Request for Restitution form, download it:
Request for Restitution form
Once you've 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 want to contact your 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
For additional information, see the Restitution for Victims of Crime brochure or contact your local Victim Service Unit.
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.
If you're considering preparing a victim impact statement, make sure you inform the Crown prosecutor about your intention as soon as possible. A victim impact statement will only be considered during the time between when an offender is found guilty and when they're sentenced.
For additional information, see the Victim Impact Statement brochure or contact your local Victim Service Unit.