Alberta expands supports and strengthens services for victims of crime

EDMONTON – The Alberta government plans to expand the range of supports available to victims of crime beginning this fall.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the changes, which are expected to begin on September 1, aim to provide additional help to victims of violence who face complex and unique issues.

Among the changes, victims needing help coping with a serious brain injury could access up to $100,000 with continued additional benefits of $1,000 per month.

Victims of human trafficking would be eligible for up to $1,000 for temporary housing and up to $5,000 for relocation costs.

Families of homicide victims may be reimbursed for funeral expenses up to $12,500.

Partners fleeing domestic violence can receive up to $1,000 for emergency travel expenses.

Up to $12,000 for counseling services should be made available immediately to those affected by serious Criminal Code offences, including families of homicide victims and minors who witness domestic violence.

“Even with our best efforts, crime can happen anywhere and to anyone. And when that happens, it’s critical that we have a system in place here in Alberta that supports victims every step of the way,” Shandro said at a news conference in Sylvan Lake, Alta., on Tuesday.

“We know that the previous financial benefits program was not fast enough and simply did not provide enough immediate support for those dealing with trauma. And that was not acceptable. »

Shandro said the government also plans to streamline the victim services process over the next year.

Currently, services are administered by 62 governance boards and delivered by community organizations, such as sexual assault centers and police victim services units.

The province plans to organize the system into four regional boards, corresponding to the administrative areas of the RCMP, and to employ centralized support staff to ensure continuity and equality of assistance, regardless of where a person lives.

The province spends about $63 million a year on victim services.

This fund must now be dedicated solely to supporting victims of crime and other public safety initiatives – such as drug treatment courts and crown attorneys – must be funded from general revenues.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 19, 2022.


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