The Difficult Road to Accountability: A Study on Complaints Mechanisms to Investigate and Address Victims’ Rights Violations
in J. Desrosiers, M-E. Sylvestre and M. Garcia, Criminal Law Reform in Canada: Challenges and Possibilities (Yvon Blais, 2017).
38 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2020
Date Written: May 16, 2017
Despite existing scholarship on victims’ rights, there is no empirical research in Canada on enforcement mechanisms that respond to victims’ rights violations. This article analyzes the recent Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which instructs federal criminal justice agencies to develop enforcement mechanisms to remedy breaches of victims’ rights and encourages provincial agencies to do the same. The first part of this article situates the development of the Canadian victims’ rights and enforcement mechanisms in their wider context by referring to the literature on victim participation and their role in the criminal justice process. Second, this piece proposes nuanced understanding of enforcement and brings together knowledge and frameworks found in two separate bodies of literature, namely the administrative law literature and victimology, to analyze the effectiveness of enforcement mechanisms in the context of crime victims. Applying these frameworks to the study of mechanisms available at the federal and provincial levels in Quebec, this piece discusses a number of limitations and proposes possibilities for improving the existing complaints structures.
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