Breadcrumb trail

Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime meets with Chief Victims Advisor to the Government of New Zealand

On September 27 and 28, 2023, the Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime, Dr. Benjamin Roebuck, hosted Dr. Kim McGregor, the Chief Victims Advisor to the Government of New Zealand during her trip to Canada. They discussed similarities and differences in victim rights, legislation and policy across both countries with a focus on problem-solving and innovation.

Dr. Roebuck and his team hosted four roundtables with key federal government stakeholders and community organizations. Dr. McGregor underscored how the challenges faced in Canada and New Zealand are strikingly similar, highlighting a shared need for broader awareness of victims’ rights and international collaboration. In the first roundtable, staff from the Office of the Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) and the New Zealand Chief Victims Advisor discussed gaps in data on the implementation of victim rights, the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples as victims of crime, and the need to inform victims of their rights in a way that is equivalent with an accused. There was agreement that victims’ rights remain in a developmental stage and require greater investment from government. 

Photo of the meeting participants

The second roundtable involved colleagues from the Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI) at Justice Canada and the National Office for Victims (NOV) at Public Safety Canada. They described the development of the Federal Victims Strategy, including recent investment in the Victims Fund, new funding for Family Information Liaison Units (FILUS) to support the families of missing and murdered Indigenous people, and information booklets available through NOV in 21 languages. Dr. McGregor described the development of victim rights in New Zealand, including the appointment of a Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.

Photo of the second roundtable participants

The third roundtable included federal leaders in victim services and policy, including representatives   from Women and Gender Equality Canada , the Parole Board of Canada , Correctional Service Canada and Canada’s Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia . These discussions emphasized the role that intersectionality plays in victimization, links between gender-based violence and hate crimes, and how racism embedded in the criminal justice system can make victims from minority groups less likely to access victim services. Dr. McGregor described Te Aorerekura, New Zealand’s National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence and highlighted the critical role housing plays in women’s safety. The group also discussed tools used in both countries to provide notification on corrections and parole to victims of crime.

Photo of the third roundtable participants

The final roundtable included community organizations that support victims and survivors of crime.The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime , Ottawa Victim Services, Women’s Shelters Canada and Mothers Against Drunk Driving all shared their first-hand experiences from the frontlines. Community organizations raised the importance of support worker wellness and challenges their organizations face due to a chronic lack of resources, despite offering critical services.

Photo of the fourth roundtable participants This two-day event reflects the Ombudsperson’s commitments to strengthening victims’ access to rights and services and promoting best practices through knowledge exchange between government and community organizations. The OFOVC will continue to work with people across Canada and around the world to help ensure victims and survivors of crime have access to trauma-informed services and that their diverse needs are reflected in policy and legislation.

Thank you, Dr. McGregor for generously sharing your expertise.