An invaluable agency that operates on a shoestring budget, and provides critical service to victims in the criminal justice system, is in danger of shutting its doors. The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime is one of the few organizations that assists victims who wish to attend parole hearings of the criminals who victimized them. At a time when Ottawa is spending billions of additional dollars on prisons, how could it possibly allow this agency to disappear when it requires a minimum of just $100,000 to continue functioning?
Here’s the information I received today from Heidi Illingworth, the tireless head of the resource centre:
Dear supporters and friends across the country:
I am deeply saddened to inform you that the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) is in jeopardy of closing our doors. Since 2010, we have relied on non-reoccurring project funding from the Department of Justice Victims Fund to remain open. Projects proposals now take many months to be approved, if at all, which leaves the future of the CRCVC uncertain. If we do not secure a commitment of sustained funding from the federal government at once, the office cannot continue to offer services into 2013.
Our staff and students want to continue to offer vital emotional support, information resources and advocacy to our clients and stakeholders across Canada. We are proud of the work we have accomplished since 1993 as a national, bilingual, non-partisan victim support and advocacy agency. We have played a significant role in: the passage of Bill C-79, which gave victims the right to give oral victim impact statements at sentencing and s.745 hearings; amendments that strengthened the DNA databank; financial assistance being made available for victims to attend parole hearings; and the creation of an emergency fund to assist Canadians who are victimized abroad.
If you agree the services and resources we offer Canadians are vital, please contact your federal Member of Parliament and ask him/her to ensure this agency is funded on an ongoing basis by the federal government. It is also critical to let the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Public Safety (Hon. Vic Toews) and Justice (Hon. Robert Nicholson) know how much this office is valued. Please keep in mind that the CRCVC helps hundreds of victims and survivors each year for approximately the same amount of annual funding that is required to incarcerate one federal prisoner.
We need your help! Please show your support of the CRCVC by writing to your local Member of Parliament AND to the Prime Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org), Minister of Public Safety (email@example.com) and Minister of Justice (firstname.lastname@example.org). In doing so, please feel free to download the attached letter, or share your personal experiences with the politicians.
I thank you for your ongoing support of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime.
Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
The agency has drafted a letter that you can download here and send to Prime Minister Stephen Harper if you’re willing to join the fight to save the CRCVC.