Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer # 790
Victim compensationRegion: Ontario Answer # 790
There are four ways that a victim of crime can be compensated. They are:
- Through insurance,
- Through restitution,
- By applying to the Victim Quick Response Program + (VQRP+), and
- By suing the person who committed the crime.
The first way to compensate victims of crime is through insurance. If you are injured, or your car is damaged in an accident, your car insurance company will usually compensate you for damages suffered. You can also seek compensation through your home or property insurer if any personal property is stolen or damaged as a result of a crime.
2. Applying for restitution
The second way to compensate victims of crime is by applying for restitution to the court that found the offender guilty of committing the offence. Restitution means that the offender is required to repay the victim. The court will consider your application when deciding on the offender’s sentence. To compensate you, the court can order any stolen property to be returned to you, or the court can order the person who committed the crime to pay you a sum of money. However, because the court’s main concern during sentencing is not victim compensation, it may be best to try other methods.
3. Victim Quick Response Program + (VQRP+)
Victims of crime may access support and services through the Victim Quick Response Program+ (VQRP+). The VQRP+ is part of Ontario Victim Services and provides short-term financial compensation towards emergency and essential expenses that occur immediately following a violent crime. The program is available to:
- the victim’s immediate family members, and
- witnesses of the crime.
To receive assistance, certain criteria must be met, including:
- it must be a violent crime that occurred in Ontario
- there must be a direct link between the crime and the expense being requested
- there cannot be any available service that is publicly funded that can meet the same need
- depending on the crime, it must have been reported or disclosed to a police service, child protection authority domestic violence shelter, sexual assault centre, hospital, community agency or Indigenous organization that provides services to victims
Support and services available include:
- Basic funeral expenses and other financial support for families of homicide victims
- Emergency home safety expenses
- Supports needed for serious injuries
- Practical assistance expenses, such as basic necessities
- Travel and related expenses, including medical treatment
- Crime scene clean-up
- Short-term counselling services
How to apply
Individuals must first be assessed for eligibility with a local VQRP+ service provider to apply for the program. There are VQRP+ service providers located in over 50 communities across Ontario. To find one, visit the online Victim Services Directory or call the toll-free multilingual Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888. In the Greater Toronto Area call 416-314-2447.
More information about the VQRP+ is also available the Ministry of the Attorney General, Victim Quick Response Program + website.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
Up until September 30, 2019 victims of crime could apply for compensation from the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which dealt mainly with cases of serious personal injury or death. The Government is currently in the process of dissolving the Board and developing a new, advanced victim’s financial assistance program offered by the Ministry of the Attorney General. For more information, visit Tribunals Ontario.
The final way to compensate a victim of crime is to sue the person who committed the crime. A civil lawsuit is held separately from the criminal trial, and can result in an award of damages for injuries suffered. You should consult a lawyer for more information if you are considering a civil lawsuit of this nature.
If you live in Ottawa or the surrounding area and need assisting with applications and representation, contact our preferred Licensed Paralegals, AJ Murray Legal Services.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, contact our preferred criminal law experts, Rotenberg Shidlowski Jesin Criminal Lawyers .
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