April 6 to 12, 2014 is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. It is a chance to learn about various resources available to support victims of crime and their families, and to hear their voices.
It is also a chance to find out about local crime prevention initiatives, and to think about steps we can all take to reduce crime and its effects on our community.
We've put together a partial list of places to start for further information about victim issues and crime prevention. These aren't the only resources, so be sure to check in your community for other services, such as help lines, sexual assault crisis centres, women's centres, and mental health services. The federal Department of Justice also has an online Victim Services Directory.
Nova Scotia Victim Services: Part of Nova Scotia's Department of Justice, Victim Services offers several programs for crime victims:
- a Victim Services Program;
- a Child Victim/Witness Program;
- Criminal Injuries Counselling; and
- Victim Impact Statement assistance.
There are Victim Services offices in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Kentville (Annapolis, Kings, Hants, Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne & Yarmouth counties), Sydney (Cape Breton, Richmond, Inverness, Victoria counties) and New Glasgow (Pictou, Guysborough, Antigonish, Colchester, Cumberland Counties).
To contact your local Victim Services office look under 'Victim Services' in the government section of your telephone book - each office has a toll free number, visit Victim Services website, or call the head office at 1-888-470-0773.
Aboriginal Victim Services: a Victim Services officer serving the Eskasoni and Membertou First Nations communities. Call (902) 563-3655 or 1 800 565-0071.
HRM Police Victim Services Unit: A Halifax Regional Police program designed to support victims of intimate partner abuse. The program is run by civilian employees and volunteers who work with the police. To contact the Victim Services Unit call (902) 490-5300, or visit the HRM Police Victim Services website.
National Victims of Crime Awareness Week website: Information from the federal government about Victims of Crime Awareness Week, including a resource guide: www.victimsweek.gc.ca
Policy Centre for Victim Issues: Part of Canada's Department of Justice, the Policy Centre for Victim Issues focuses on law reform, consultation, policy development, research, and project funding. Click here for more information.
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime: An independent federal government office established to provide information to victims about applicable federal laws and victim services, and to address victim complaints about how the Corrections and Conditional Release Act is applied. To contact the Ombudsman visit www.victimsfirst.gc.ca/, or call 1-866-481-8429
National Office for Victims (Public Safety Canada): A first stop for general information for victims of federal offenders. Call 1-866-525-0554 or visit www.publicsafety.gc.ca
National Parole Board of Canada: The federal Corrections and Conditional Release Act allows victims to get certain information about a federal offender who hurt them, such as the court where the offender was convicted, sentence, and eligibility for release. A victim must make a written request to get offender information. Victims may also observe parole hearings, and/or submit a victim impact statement. For further information visit the National Parole Board's website, or call the National Parole Boards Victims Info Line at 1-866-789- 4636.
Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS) - Transition Houses offer emergency shelter, information, and support for women in abusive relationships. For a list of transition houses across the province visit www.thans.ca
Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women - the Advisory Council works to ensure that issues affecting Nova Scotia women are part of the government's plan. For more information visit women.gov.ns.ca, or call 1 800 565-8662 or 424-8662.
Nova Scotia Crime Prevention website: http://gov.ns.ca/just/prevention/. Visit this government site to learn about Nova Scotia's Crime Prevention Strategy, crime prevention initiatives in your community and get personal safety tips
Atlantic Coordinating Committee on Crime Prevention and Community Safety (ACC): a non-profit partnership focusing on crime prevention, offering crime prevention resources and an annual crime prevention conference. For more information visit www.acc-cca.org
Public Safety Canada's National Crime Prevention Centre: Find out more about Canada's National Crime Prevention Strategy on the federal Department of Public Safety's website.
Restorative Justice: community based non-profit societies, working in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, deliver Restorative Justice programs to youth and victims of youth crime across Nova Scotia. You'll find contact information for your local restorative justice program online at http://www.gov.ns.ca/just/rj/contact.asp