Image sourced from the Government of Canada’s National Victims of Crime Awareness Week website.

April 6-12 is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week

This week, it’s timely to reflect upon the issues facing victims of crime and the services, assistance and laws in place to help victims and their families.

When a crime is committed, the repercussions can ripple out and affect children, partners, entire families and communities. Beyond physical injury, financial loss and property damage, the damages can encompass severe and potentially long lasting psychological and emotional after-effects such as sleeping problems, anger, fear and post-traumatic stress.

To put this into perspective:

  • 28 per cent of victims of violent crime suffer injuries that result in their inability to carry out day-to-day activities 1
  • While the pain and suffering that results from spousal violence cannot be estimated in dollars and cents, other victim costs can. In 2009, health care and mental health issues cost $200.4 million, lost wages cost $33.7 million, and damaged or destroyed property cost $89.2 million 2
  • People with activity limitations are 2.4 times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than people without disabilities 3
  • This year, 1 in 900 Canadian men and women will be defrauded of an average of $15,000 Canadian dollars by romance fraud. 4
  • Two in five parents report their school-age child has been involved in a cyberbullying incident, while one in five university students has been victimized via Facebook, texting and emails. 5

What’s more, the effects and impacts of the exact same type of crime can differ enormously from person to person. Individuals who are already socially marginalized may not feel safe in accessing law enforcement or judicial services, and may not receive equitable treatment from institutions of justice.

These unfortunate realities make widespread social understanding and compassion for victims of crime all the more important.

If you are a victim of crime and need help or have questions, please call the Victim Support Line (VSL) toll-free at 1-888-579-2888, or in the Greater Toronto Area at (416) 314-2447.

Other resources:

Notes:

  1. Canada’s National Victims of Crime Awareness Week website, 2004 General Social Survey (GSS) on victimization
  2. Canada’s National Victims of Crime Awareness website, citing Zhang, Ting, Josh Hoddenbagh, Susan McDonald, and Katie Scrim. 2012. An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada, 2009. Department of Justice Canada, Research and Statistics Division: Ottawa.
  3. Canada’s National Victims of Crime Awareness Week website, 2004 General Social Survey (GSS) on victimization
  4. Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
  5. Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime


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