Advocating for Victims of Crime in Alberta

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Advocating for Victims of Crime in Alberta

This petition had 2,080 supporters


BACKGROUND INFO:

Bill 16, The Victims of Crime Amendment Act (Strengthening Public Safety) has received 2nd reading in the Alberta Legislature without any consultation with stakeholders. https://www.alberta.ca/supporting-victims-of-crime-and-public-safety.aspx

The amendments in this act will severely diminish the scope of Financial Benefits to victims of crime, NOT enhance them, as stated by this government. The changes will also give the Ministry access to the Victims of Crime Fund to pay for public safety initiatives such as additional policing, crown prosecutors and drug courts.

The Victims of Crime Fund currently has a significant surplus that has collected over the years and in 2016 the Office of the Auditor-General issued a report recommending numerous changes. Subsequently, the NDP government did some initial consultation in order to identify gaps in service and gather info on how to better serve victims and victim serving organizations in Alberta. Additional funding was provided to municipal victim service programs and work was being done to amend the funding of rural victim service programs, along with other changes.

One of the UCP platforms was to combat rural crime, add more police officers, and crown prosecutors. However, what they didn't tell Albertans was, is that they planned to utilize the Victims of Crime Fund, rather than general operating funds to do so. The "consultations" that the UCP did were about rural crime - NOT about changes to the Victims of Crime Fund.

The Victims of Crime Fund was created with the intent to support victims of crime and organizations that support those victims. It is NOT general revenue/taxpayers' money. It is money collected through victim fine surcharges administered upon conviction in provincial and criminal court. Those funds should continue to fund victims and victim serving organizations, as it was intended, especially where funding is currently inadequate.

We appreciate the need for more police officers, crown prosecutors and drug courts but it should NOT be done at the expense of victims and with money that was collected for that exact purpose. The proposed changes to the Financial Benefit program for victims of crime aren't all bad but we don't believe that those changes are entirely reflective of the consultations and feedback from stakeholders in that regard.

Absolutely NO consultation has taken place with important stakeholders and experts in the field in relation to any other changes proposed by Bill 16. The UCP has proposed a working group of two MLAs who will consult with stakeholders but it is non-sensible to consult after the Act has already been changed.

This will impact all Albertans because anyone can become a victim of crime at any point in time. Please help us in our effort to have Bill 16 DELAYED until meaningful consultation can be done with victims and stakeholders.

 

Dear Premier Kenny,

We, as a group of concerned citizens, Victim Service Providers and Victims of Crime in Alberta; are asking that your Government allow Bill-16 Victim's of Crime Amendment Act to be delayed and sent to a working committee that would consult with and consider input from stakeholders such as Victim Service Providers and Victims of Crime. The intent would be to have meaningful consultation with experts in the field of victim services who could propose amendments to improve the bill and ensure that victims of crime in our Province maintain the continued supports that have been in existence for over 25 years. To date, no consultation has taken place on the proposed changes to the Victims of Crime Fund.



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