Looking the Gift Horse in the Mouth: An Examination of the Canadian Approach to Criminal Restitution in Case of Sexual Violence
(2016) 20 Can. Crim. L.R. 209
Posted: 6 Jul 2016
Date Written: January 2016
The Victims Bill of Rights Act forms part of an ambitious series of initiatives launched by the Canadian government in support of victims’ rights. It creates new statutory rights to information, protection, participation, and restitution. In relation to the latter, however, it is questionable whether the legislation is ambitious enough. The Victims Bill of Rights Act does not change the nature of the reparations that victims might receive on the conviction of offenders. While victims may obtain restitution orders for payment of pecuniary damages in the criminal process, provided those amounts are readily ascertainable, they are left to pursue claims for non-pecuniary damages in the civil courts. This is particularly problematic for survivors of sexual violence, as they tend to suffer significant intangible losses. This paper examines the relevant Canadian law for compensating victims of violent crime, and explores alternate approaches to granting private law remedies in the public law setting.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation