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Types of victim services

There are many different types of victim services in Canada, offered by governments, police services, courts, volunteers, non-governmental organizations and more.

Victim services are a shared responsibility in Canada and come in many different forms. Below we have provided some general information for you about those different types of services. For more information on the assistance available to you, please contact us.

  • System-based victim services

    This type of victim service delivery is independent from police, courts and Crown Attorneys. System-based victim services assist the victim throughout the victim's contact with the criminal justice system.

    This may include, but is not limited to:

    • providing information, support and referrals;
    • short-term counselling;
    • court preparation and accompaniment;
    • Victim Impact Statements preparation and,
    • liaising with police, courts, Crown and Corrections.
  • Police-based victim services

    Police-based victim services are usually provided following a victim's first contact with the police. While these victim service agencies may be located in police detachments, they are not always police employees. In many cases, police may refer the victim to victim services or advise victim services to make contact with the victim. Many police-based victim services have a coordinator and trained volunteers.

    Police-based victim services may provide information, support, assistance, referral, and court orientation to victims of crime.

  • Court-based victim services

    Court-based victim services provide support for people who have become involved in the criminal justice process as either victims or witnesses. Court-based victim services provide information, assistance and referrals to victims and witnesses with the goal of trying to make the court process less intimidating.

    Services may include:

    • court orientation, preparation and accompaniment to court;
    • updates on the progress of the case;
    • coordinating meetings with the Crown and,
    • assessing the ability of a child victim/witness to testify.

    Some court-based victim services focus on specific clientele i.e. children or victims of domestic violence.

  • Community-based victim services

    Community-based victim services provide direct services to victims and receive funding either in whole or in part by the provincial and/or federal government responsible for criminal justice matters.

    Some community-based victim services agencies serve a specific clientele such as:

    • victims of family and sexual violence;
    • ethno-specific and diverse communities and,
    • child victims.

    Services offered may include:

    • emotional support;
    • practical assistance;
    • informatiom;
    • court orientation and,
    • referrals.
  • Volunteers and non-governmental organizations

    Many police-based and community-based victim services utilize the services of volunteers to assist with their programs.

    Volunteers can assist in many different ways including direct contact with clients to provide assistance.

    Other ways may include:

    • providing administrative help and,
    • fundraising or serving as board members.

    Most organizations that use the services of volunteers provide training in victim assistance to the volunteers.

    Non-governmental organizations dedicated to victims may also be able to provide direct and practical assistance. These organizations can operate at national, provincial or municipal levels. As the services and types of organizations vary widely, contact those groups in your community to find out more about what services they offer.