Victims of crime are defined to be the persons who have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury; emotional suffering including grief; economic loss and/or substantial impairment of rights that have been accorded to them by law through acts or omissions that are in violation of the criminal law. Without limiting the aforementioned definition, victims are also those who have suffered such harm as a result of the death of a person whom they are financially or psychologically dependant and/or to whom they are closely related. The definition extends to include people who are not financially and/or psychologically dependent on the harmed person if they see or hear the harm being done to the person directly affected in circumstances where it is probable that they will themselves suffer harm.
The Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) is administered by the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. This program is governed by the Crime Victim Assistance Act and the corresponding regulations. Under the act, victims injured as a result of certain crimes, immediate family members of an injured or deceased victim and some witnesses may be eligible for financial assistance or benefits. The Crime Victim Assistance Program came into force in the year 2002, replacing the Criminal Injury Compensation Program previously operated by the Workers' Compensation Board. The Crime Victim Assistance Program was developed in response to the changing needs of victims. When the Criminal Injury Compensation Program began in 1972, many victims, who were mostly male wage earners, were concerned about wage loss resulting from a crime. Today, many victims, especially women and children, need financial support as well as additional services and assistance to aid in their recovery from the physical and psychological effects of their victimization. While the program does not cover injuries or loss sustained from motor vehicle accidents, injuries or loss sustained out of, or during the course of employment, claims for pain and suffering, and/or loss of personal property, the benefits offered through the Crime Victim Assistance Program will help victims and others recover from the effects of violent crime so that they may regain complete participation in their communities.
Problem-solving courts began in the 1990s to accommodate offenders with specific needs and problems that were not or could not be adequately addressed in traditional courts. Problem-solving courts seek to promote outcomes that will benefit not only the offender, but the victim and society as a whole. Therefore, problem-solving courts were developed as an innovative response to deal with offenders' problems, including drug abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence. Although most problem solving court models are relatively new, early results from studies show that these types of courts are presenting a positive impact on the lives of offenders and victims and in some instances are reducing jail and prison costs. In general, problem-solving courts share some common elements such as a strong focus on outcomes, system change, judicial involvement, collaboration, non-traditional roles, screening and assessment and early identification of potential candidates.
For instance, problem-solving courts are designed to provide positive case outcomes for victims, society and the offender by reducing the amount of recidivism or by creating safer communities. They also promote reform of how the government responds to problems such as drug addiction and mental illness. The judges also take a more hands-on approach to addressing problems and changing the behaviors of the defendants. The problem-solving courts also work with external parties to achieve certain goals such as by developing partnerships with mental health care providers. These courts and their personnel take on roles or processes not common in traditional courts. For example, some problem-solving courts are less adversarial than traditional criminal justice processing. Through the use of screening and assessment tools, they are able to identify appropriate individuals suited for the court. They also use screening and assessment tools to determine a defendant's eligibility for the problem-solving court which usually occurs early in a defendant's involvement with criminal justice processing.
Restorative Justice is an approach to justice where offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions in order "to repair the harm they've done- by apologizing, returning stolen money, or (for example) doing community service". It is based on a theory of justice that focuses on crime and wrong doing as performed against the individual or community rather than the state.] In restorative justice processes, the justice system instructs the person who has done harm in addition to the person who has been harmed and encourages them to take an active role in the restoring of normalcy. The victim may receive an apology, direct reparation or indirect action to restore or fix the damage. Restorative Justice will most likely engage a fostering of dialog between the offender and the victim. This act will present the rate of victim satisfaction, true accountability by the offender, and reduced recidivism. Restorative justice is a broad term which encompasses a growing social movement to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving and violations of legal and human rights. Rather than privileging the law, professionals and the state, restorative resolutions engage those who are harmed, wrongdoers and their affected communities in search of solutions that promote repair, reconciliation and the rebuilding of relationships. Restorative justice seeks to build partnerships to re-establish mutual responsibility for constructive responses to wrongdoing within our communities. Restorative approaches seek a balanced approach to the needs of the victim, wrongdoer and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all.
Restorative justice is very different from either the adversarial legal process or that of civil litigation. "Court-annexed ADR, also known as alternative dispute resolution, and restorative justice could not be philosophically further apart," because lawyers seek to reduce issues between offenders and victims to only legally relevant ones and to protect their offending client, whereas restorative justice seeks to "expand the issues beyond those that are legally relevant, especially into underlying relationships." Citing Greif, Liebmann has written that, ââ‚¬Å“A way of looking at restorative justice is to think of it as a balance between a number of different tensions such as there being a balance between the therapeutic and the retributive models of justice, a balance between the rights of offenders and the needs of victims and a balance between the need to rehabilitate offenders and the duty to protect the public.ââ‚¬Â In comparison, restorative Justice creates a paradigm shift that is best understood by asking the most often quoted "three questions." The common three questions for the justice system to ask are, "What laws have been broken?, Who did it? and What do they deserve?" Restorative justice asks, "Who has been hurt?, What are their needs? and Whose obligations are these?ââ‚¬Â