A victim is a person or group of people who are negatively affected by the actions of another individual or group. The victim can be hurt, harmed, cheated, misled or killed as a result of the actions of others. There is often more than one victim for any specific crime that is committed.
An important part of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is the inclusion of the victim in the youth justice process. The Act states that victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect, and that their privacy is respected. The Act also says that victims should suffer the least inconvenience possible as a result of their involvement with the youth criminal justice system.
Information from the victim may be included in a pre-sentence report. If the victim is willing, they can be interviewed so that their views are included in the information that the judge considers when deciding on the sentence. See the Sentences section on page 22 for more information.
Before giving a sentence, the judge has to ask whether the victims in the case have been told that they may complete a victim impact statement. Victims can complete a written statement that talks about what harm was done or what the victim has lost as a result of the crime committed against them. The victim can read the statement in court or ask the court’s permission to have it presented in a different way.
Victims are encouraged to get involved in community methods of responding to youth crime. They may be given the opportunity to have input regarding the consequences for a crime or speak about how the crime affected them. Many extrajudicial measures can involve victims in the process, such as youth justice committees, conferences and extrajudicial sanctions.
Various sections of the Act detail how victims can participate, and be heard, in the case in which they are involved. The Act also details what information the victim can receive throughout the youth justice process. When a youth goes through the extrajudicial sanctions program, the victim can be told the name of the young person who has admitted to the crime (section 12). Victims can also be told what consequences the youth received. This information can be provided by the police, the Attorney general, the provincial director or a victim’s assistance organization. However, the victim does have to ask for this information.
Once a judge has given a sentence of compensation, restitution, pay purchaser or compensation through personal service, the victim who will be compensated or who will receive restitution has to be told about the conditions of the sentence. Furthermore, the judge cannot order a sentence of personal service without the consent of the person to be compensated.