Sadly, many of the people who we help at The Legal Clinic have been the victims of a violent crime either as an adult or as a child. Many victims are not aware that they can apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for some compensation for the injuries they have incurred as a result of a crime of violence, including sexual assault, even if the crime was never reported to the police.
In 1971 the Ontario Government established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) pursuant to the Compensation For Victims of Crime Act to compensate victims of violent crime and family members of deceased victims of a violent crime. On their website, the CICB acknowledges that, “no amount of money can ever make up for the harm suffered by victims”. However, they are hopeful that the compensation that they provide to victims “may assist them in meeting their financial, physical and emotional needs”.
The CICB has a very broad definition of “violent crime”, which includes firearm offences, poisoning, arson, assault, sexual assault, domestic assault, child physical assault and child sexual abuse. Generally, the victim must apply for compensation within 2 years of the offence. However, exceptions are frequently made to this rule, particularly for people who were victimized as children.
The application forms for compensation are available on the CICB website at http://www.cicb.gov.on.ca, as are guides to assist victims in completing the forms. It is important to give as much detail as possible about the crime and to provide any documentation you have that could be considered “evidence” of the crime. This includes court documents, newspaper articles, letters from people who witnessed or have knowledge of the crime, letters from counsellors, medical records and photographs.
Once the application has been submitted, the CICB will send some forms for doctors, counsellors, etc. to complete, to provide more information about the crime and its impact on the victim. If the crime was not reported and/or the perpetrator of the crime was not convicted, he or she may be notified by the CICB that the victim has applied for compensation and will be given an opportunity to participate in the hearing. Such participation will usually be by telephone or from a physical location away from the victim’s hearing location. In some cases, when there was a conviction and there is good documentary evidence of the crime, the CICB will hold a written hearing. However, in most cases, even in some cases where the offender has been convicted of the violent crime, an oral hearing will take place. For victims in our area the hearing usually takes place in Kingston or Ottawa.
You do not need a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. However, The Legal Clinic can help victims complete the application form and can represent victims at the hearing if the victim is financially eligible for our services. For more information please contact The Legal Clinic at 613-279-3252 (Sharbot Lake) or 613-264-888 (Perth).
Legalese is a column of general information and opinion on legal topics by the lawyers of The Legal Clinic, Box 359, Sharbot Lake, ON, K0H 2P0, 613-279-3252 or 10 Sunset Blvd., Perth, ON K7H 2Y2, 1-888-777-8916. This column is not intended to provide legal advice. You should contact a lawyer to determine your legal rights and obligations.