PCVI News - Spring 2013


Welcome to the Spring edition of the PCVI Newsletter. The Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI) at the Department of Justice is proud to lead the Federal Victims Strategy, the objective of which is to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. PCVI works in collaboration with several other federal departments whose programs and services benefit victims of crime.

In this edition of the PCVI Newsletter, you will learn about the RCMP's National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains and the new federal income support program for parents of missing or murdered children, offered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. We are also bringing you interesting updates and pieces of information in our "From the Desks of PCVI" feature.

The Department of Justice is currently accepting applications to the Victims Fund for projects and activities that meet the needs of victims of human trafficking. See below for more information.

PCVI is interested in your feedback and ideas for this Newsletter. If you have a story to share, information to pass on to colleagues in the field of victim issues, or suggestions for improvement, please contact us at PCVI-CPCV@justice.gc.ca.

National Victims of Crime Awareness Week 2013 – We All Have a Role

PCVI would like to take this opportunity to thank the many participants from across the country who commemorated the eighth annual Victims Week in a meaningful way. Over 175 events took place in every province and territory to honour victims of crime and the people who work with victims every day. The Victims Week federal symposium held in Gatineau, Quebec was a successful event comprising several engaging workshops and moving plenary speakers, all of which will enrich our national discussion on victim issues. For more information about Victims Week, and to view new Sharing Our Stories features, please visit the recently updated website.

Missing Persons

New Website Launched to Assist in Cases of Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains

The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR), created by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), recently launched the new "Canada's Missing" website.

The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR), created by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), recently launched the new "Canada's Missing" website as part of its operations.

The NCMPUR provides specialized assistance to law enforcement, medical examiners, and chief coroners when investigating cases of missing persons and unidentified remains. Specifically, the NCMPUR works to:

The NCMPUR's new website contains information about missing persons and unidentified remains cases. Through this website, the public have the ability to provide information they may have on cases of missing persons and unidentified remains. The website also includes a sampling of current cases in Canada that are submitted by the primary police agency, coroners and medical examiners involved.

For more information about NCMPUR and to search case profiles, visit the "Canada's Missing" website.

New Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children grant is now available

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting victims of crime and their families. In April 2012, the Prime Minister announced the new Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children (PMMC) grant to help parents while they are dealing with their tragedy during the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week.

This grant, which became available on January 1, 2013, provides $350 a week of income support for up to 35 weeks to parents of murdered or missing children (less than 18 years of age) whose death or disappearance is the result of a probable Criminal Code offence which took place in Canada on or after that date.

Parents must be on leave from all employment, apply for and receive the grant within one year of the offence. This grant can be shared by more than one eligible applicant for the same incident.

For complete eligibility criteria and more detailed information about the PMMC grant or to access the forms to apply for this income support grant, please visit the Service Canada website.

Call For Proposals: Meeting the Needs of Victims of Human Trafficking

The Federal Victims Strategy (the Strategy) consolidates all federal government work related to victims of crime into one objective: to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.

The Strategy includes the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered by the Policy Centre for Victim Issues at the Department of Justice Canada.

The purpose of this call for proposals is to invite applications to the Victims Fund for projects and activities that will specifically meet the needs of victims of human trafficking through the delivery of victim services and/or public legal information and education.

Resources are limited and not all eligible proposals will be funded. In addition to the information requested in the application form, applicants must also meet the following criteria to be considered for funding to meet the needs of human trafficking. Please indicate how your organization has:

Applications submitted on or before September 9, 2013 will be considered for funding. Please use the application form available here.

For further information, please contact:

Lara Rooney
Policy Analyst | Analyste des politiques
Policy Centre for Victim Issues | Centre de la politique concernant les victimes
Department of Justice Canada | Ministère de la Justice Canada
phone: 613-957-9589
fax: 613-952-1110

Kimberly Ritter, "Sex Trafficking Sleuth" on the Side

The Walrus Magazine recently featured a factoid on "tracking human trafficking" in their January/February 2013 edition. The factoid highlights the work of Kimberly Ritter, a "sex trafficking sleuth" on the side. As conference planner at Nix Conference and Meeting Management in St. Louis, Missouri (US), Ritter and her coworkers work with 500 hotels around the world and make annual visits to around 50.

Ritter's work makes her an expert in hotel décor. So, just how is this expertise useful for "tracking human trafficking"?

Ritter has turned her expertise into a useful tool for examining online escort ad photos. She looks for any décor indicative of the hotels she works with: curtains, pillows, bathroom sinks. Ritter then contacts the hotels and instructs the staff to keep an eye out for girls coming to stay at the hotels. She informs the staff to look for graffiti-like tattoos and barcodes that traffickers use to "brand" their victims so other traffickers can recognize who has "ownership" over that victim. To find out more, read the CNN article on Ritter.

The factoid finishes with one poignant quote from Ritter: "What it shows is ownership," she says, "that some other pimp owns that girl or that child".

The Price of Sex: A Documentary Film by Mimi Chakarova

The Price of Sex is a story told by young Eastern European women who were victims of sex trafficking, documented by photojournalist Mimi Chakarova. Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, goes undercover to film the story and helps to reveal the realities faced by sex trafficking victims. The film has received international attention and has been used as a training tool by embassies across the world. The film also received several awards, including the 2011 Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking (Human Rights Watch Film Festival), and the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding international investigative reporting.

To find out more about the film and to watch a video clip, visit the Price of Sex website.

From the Desks of PCVI

At PCVI we receive many emails about important developments in the area of victim issues and related fields. While we cannot forward every email to you, our readers, we have selected some of the most interesting and timely pieces to share.

We would like to make this an ongoing feature of the PCVI Newsletter. If you have something of importance to share with the victim serving community, please send your links to: PCVI-CPCV@justice.gc.ca.

From: Edmonton Police Service

On November 19th, 2012, the Edmonton Police Service launched their "Speak Out" campaign aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence. On the day of the launch, the campaign aired its first commercial, urging the public to get involved with reporting cases of domestic violence in the communities where they live. Click here to view the 15-second "Speak Out" commercial.

From: YWCA Canada

The YWCA has developed the "Safety Siren", a smart phone app where you can set up the contact number of a friend or family member to notify with the click of one button on your phone during an emergency. The app also sends the contact person your GPS location, includes a loud personal alarm, and has FAQs on sexual violence and healthy dating relationships. To learn more and to download the Safety Siren, visit the YWCA website.

From: Global Women's Empowerment Network (GWEN)

The Global Women's Empowerment Network (GWEN) recently launched the GWEN alert phone app. On it you can upload the phone numbers of five friends or family members. In an emergency, you can alert all five by clicking one button which sends out a pre-determined text saying "I'm in an emergency, I need your help". It also sends your GPS location to your contacts to assist them in finding you or so they can pass the information on to the police. To learn more and to download the GWEN alert app, visit the GWEN website.

From: BC VictimLink

The province of British Columbia recently launched the BC VictimLink, a new website and telephone helpline for victims of crime.

The helpline will instantly provide victims with information about the criminal justice system, court support, assistance with forms, referrals to other community agencies, emotional support, information about crime and youth violence prevention, and referrals to a transition house.

The helpline is toll free, available 24\7, confidential and anonymous, multilingual, and TTY accessible.

To learn more, see the:

BC VictimLink Brochure

From: The Men's Project

The Men's Project in Ottawa is pleased to introduce 1in6 Canada! 1in6 will act as a national knowledge exchange centre and resource to help boys and men recovering from sexual trauma. The Men's Project hosted a 1in6 Canada website launch reception March 21st, 2013, and a 1in6 Canada Press Conference March 22nd, 2013.

From: The "To This Day" Project

Bullying goes beyond the playground. For Shane Koyczan, a Canadian born poet, the unwanted childhood nickname "pork chop" continues to have a lasting effect on him as an adult. It was this experience of being bullied that led to his animated poem "To This Day", which was posted as a video on Youtube and has since reached over 9 million views. The video is a part of Koyczan's anti-bullying campaign, "To This Day". To learn more about the campaign and to watch the video, visit the project's website.

Content of the PCVI E-Newsletter is provided as an information-sharing service. Inclusion does not represent endorsement by the Policy Centre for Victim Issues or the Department of Justice. Please send your comments and feedback to our editor at PCVI-CPCV@justice.gc.ca.