Emergency Financial Assistance for Canadians Victimized Abroad

Overview

The Federal Victims 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 Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, and/or increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families. The Fund does not provide criminal injuries compensation for victims of crime.

Who is eligible?

Canadians who have been the victim of a violent crime in a foreign country may be eligible for emergency financial assistance through the Victims Fund. As of April 1, 2007, emergency financial assistance is available to individual Canadians who are victims of specified serious violent crimes in a foreign jurisdiction for emergency situations of undue hardship where no other source of financial assistance is available.

Who can apply for this funding?

Any Canadian may apply to the Victims Fund for emergency financial assistance if he or she is:

  • the victim of a violent crime in a foreign jurisdiction;

  • a family member of a victim who is dead, ill or incapacitated due to their victimization in a foreign jurisdiction; or

  • in the case of a child, a parent or the person responsible for the care and support of the child.

Emergency financial assistance may be available in the case of the following crimes committed in a foreign jurisdiction:

  • Homicide

  • Sexual assault

  • Aggravated assault

  • Assault with serious personal violence, including against a child.

 

Objectives

The objectives of the Victims Fund are to:

  • promote access to justice and participation by victims in the justice system;

  • promote the development of law, policies and programs for victims;

  • promote the implementation of principles, guidelines and laws designed to address the needs of victims of crime and articulate the victim’s role in the criminal justice system;

  • increase knowledge and awareness of the impact of victimization, the needs of victims of crime, available services, assistance and programs, and relevant legislation;

  • encourage governmental and non-governmental organizations to identify victim needs and gaps in services, and develop and deliver programs, services and assistance to victims; and,

  • promote capacity-building within non-governmental organizations.

Financial Assistance

The Victims Fund may help cover the following expenses where the victim has no other source of financial assistance:

  • travel expenses to return to the country where the crime occurred in order to attend the preliminary hearing and/or the trial or equivalent process;

  • travel expenses to return to the country where the crime occurred in order to testify at the preliminary hearing and/or trial if the host country is unwilling or unable to pay;

  • travel expenses for a support person to be with a Canadian victimized abroad, during the immediate aftermath of the crime;

  • expenses for a Canadian victim of crime to return to Canada.

The Victims Fund may help cover the following types of expenses where the victim has no other source of financial assistance, up to a maximum of $10,000:

  • Hospital and medical expenses due to being victimized;

  • Expenses to replace stolen official documents;

  • Upon return to Canada, financial assistance for professional counselling;

  • Funeral expenses if the crime resulted in the death of the victim; and/or

  • out-of-pocket expenses due to being a victim of a violent crime.

Canadians are also eligible to receive consular services while outside of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada. To find out the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate visit.

Points to Consider

What expenses are not covered by the Victims Fund?

The Victims Fund does not cover:

  • expenses covered by the applicant’s medical insurance or travel insurance;

  • lost wages;

  • compensation costs;

  • legal fees;

  • losses incurred due to the victim’s own criminal behaviour; or,

  • expenses incurred for crimes that took place before April 1, 2007.

How to Apply  for Funding

Step 1

Report the crime to the Canadian Embassy or Consulate

A Canadian who becomes a victim of a serious violent crime in a foreign jurisdiction should immediately attempt to report the crime to the local Canadian Embassy or Consulate. The primary concern of the Embassy or Consulate staff is the victim’s personal and physical safety. Consular staff can assist with arranging help in a medical emergency; provide guidance on sources of information about local laws and regulations; contact next of kin, where authorized, in the event of an accident or death; and request that local authorities investigate suspicious circumstances in the event of an alleged or apparent crime or death. Consular staff should notify the Victims Fund Manager that a victim may be applying for emergency financial assistance.

Step 2

Contact local police

If possible, a Canadian victimized abroad should contact local police to report the incident and obtain immediate help with safety concerns. It is a good idea to request a copy of the police report. The police report serves a number of purposes. It may provide the victim with contact information, and it may be required for insurance purposes at a later date or for provincial compensation for criminal injuries.
A copy of the police report, where available, should accompany the Application for Emergency Financial Assistance from the Victims Fund.