Victims of crime

Frequently asked questions

What should you do if you're assaulted?

If you have been assaulted or abused, you should first escape from the offender and seek medical attention. You should then call the police and explain what happened. In most cases the police will arrest the accused and lay charges. You should also record the names and badge numbers of the officers who assisted you.

To ensure that you have an accurate record of the assault, report all of your injuries to both the police and to a doctor in detail, and write down everything that happened as soon as possible. You may also want to have photographs taken of your injuries to keep with your written records. Also try to keep track of all the expenses that you incurred as a result of the assault.

If you are being abused by a spouse or partner, you may want to contact a women's shelter or call a domestic assault hotline. You will be able to talk with a counsellor who can advise you of your options and help you decide what to do.

What is sexual assault?

Canadian law defines sexual assault as all incidents of unwanted sexual activity, including an attack or even touching. Physical contact of a sexual nature without your consent is sexual assault. A man or woman can be the victim of a sexual assault and an attacker can be the same sex as the victim. A spouse can commit sexual assault on their partner.

What is a hate crime?

A hate crime is criminal offence where someone intimidates, harms, or terrorizes a person or people based on their colour, race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.

It can include threats, harassment, and physical force and also any attempt to incite hatred.

Statistics Canada reported there were 1,414 police-reported hate crimes across Canada in 2012, the most recent numbers available. However, statistics are questionable because Canadian police don’t use a standard definition of what a “hate crime” is.

The Criminal Code has two specific sections devoted to hate crimes. Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code outlaw the promotion of genocide or promotion of hatred that may lead to violence or a breach of peace. Both sections are designed to prevent the spread of hate propaganda in any public forum and aren’t concerned with private opinions. The law specifically bans “communicating” such statements, which includes communication by telephone, broadcast, or other audible or visual means. The law doesn’t specifically mention online hate speech, but it could still fall under this definition.

Section 319 specifically bans the willful promotion of hatred “other than in private conversation.”

What is the Victim’s Bill of Rights?

In June 2014, the federal government passed the Victims Bill of Rights Act, a new law designed to protect and enhance the rights and the voice of people who have suffered from crime.

The current federal government holds the position the justice system puts too much emphasis on the rights of the accused and neglects those of the victims.

In response, Bill C-32 established a precise definition of who is a victim, makes it easier for them to participate in legal proceedings, supplies them with more information, and made some significant changes to existing laws.


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