Section 7 - Conclusion

There was almost unanimous agreement among those I heard from that Ontario should not abolish its tradition of providing direct financial assistance to victims of violent crime through an independent adjudicative process. However, there has been a shift in Canada and elsewhere from providing crime victims with direct financial assistance to supporting them through various non-financial victim programs and services, and from criminal injuries hearings to limited administrative financial assistance schemes without any formal hearings. These shifts are not consistent with a truly compassionate, fair and responsive approach to the needs of victims of violent crime.

The Ministry, in reviewing reform options for the CICB, has used the number of victims served as one measure of assessing these options. The true value of criminal injuries financial assistance, however, lies not in the number of victims who choose to apply for it, but lies in the very significant and positive impact that financial assistance has in the lives of each of the victims who do apply successfully. Government-funded victim services and programs alone may not be adequately responsive to the particular needs of individual crime victims. Financial assistance can enable victims of violent crime to move forward with their lives in the manner they determine to be best for them.

Financial assistance for victims of violent crime remains a very significant and positive feature of Ontario's victim services and programs that should be continued. Further, as the Ombudsman's report makes clear, the Ministry must provide adequate and consistent funding to ensure the success of any financial assistance program.