Ontario Supporting Victims of Crime in Underserved Areas

Published on March 31, 2021

Ontario Supporting Victims of Crime in Underserved Areas

The Ontario government is investing an additional $2.1 million to provide new supports and services for victims of crime in Leeds-Grenville, Dufferin County and the Nipissing region - historically underserved areas of the province. Enhancing sexual violence support services for victims, increasing crisis intervention services and expanding free legal advice is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy.

The three-year investment will establish new sexual violence support services in Leeds-Grenville and Dufferin County. The services will support female victims and survivors of sexual assault through counselling, peer support, advocacy and 24-hour crisis support by phone. In addition, 24/7 assistance to victims and their families will be expanded in the Nipissing region to increase access to crisis intervention services for area residents.

The province is also providing up to four hours of free legal advice to survivors of sexual assault. Initially launched as a pilot in Toronto, Ottawa and the District of Thunder Bay, the program will be available province-wide by phone or video effective May 1, 2021. Ontario will be engaging with victim services providers in the weeks ahead on the implementation of these new services and supports.

The government is also modernizing the Office for Victims of Crime, an advisory body to the Attorney General, by diversifying the representation of victims' voices and perspectives through increased membership.

"We are incredibly pleased about the expansion of services for survivors of sexual violence, and thrilled that today's announcement includes changes to the membership of the Office for Victims of Crime that will help ensure diverse voices from throughout the province are infused into our work," said Ruth Campbell, Chair of the Office for Victims of Crime.

Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government's record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.