What You Should Know About Victims Financial Benefits in Alberta

 

No one ever expects to be a victim of crime. However, these unforeseen incidents do happen. If they do, it is essential to know your rights and what help is available to you as a Canadian and Albertan.

Who can be considered a victim of crime?

The Department of Justice with the Government of Canada defines a victim as “a person who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss as a result of a crime. The rights are available to a victim who is in Canada or who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.”

An individual of any age can be a victim of crime, whether you are a youth under the age of 18, an adult, or a senior.

You could be a victim of crime if you have been:

  • assaulted
  • experienced theft
  • abused (physical or emotional)
  • had property damaged

Victim of Crime

For those in difficult situations where the victim has passed away or is not able to represent on his or her behalf, then the following individuals can exercise a victim’s rights:

– A victim’s spouse

– A common-law partner (must have lived with the victim for at least one year before the victim’s death)

– A relative or dependant of the victim

– Anyone who has custody of the victim or the victim’s dependant

What is the Alberta Victims of Crime Financial Benefits Program?

If you have been a victim of crime in Alberta, you can also receive compensation for your injuries through the Alberta Victims of Crime Financial Benefits Program.

The Government of Alberta acknowledges individuals who have experienced an emotional or physical injury as a result of a serious crime that took place in Alberta. One way in which the Government is striving to provide assistance and support for these individuals is by providing them with a one-time financial benefit based on the severity of the victim’s injuries.

You may be eligible for this financial benefit program if:

  • The crime happened in Alberta. Note: you don’t need to live in Alberta to be eligible.
  • The crime was reported to police within a reasonable time period.
  • You co-operated with authorities as they were investigating the crime.
  • Your application was submitted and received within two years of the date of the crime.
  • If you were under the age of 18 when the crime occurred, you have until the age of 28 to apply.

As a Victim of Crime in Alberta, you can apply for three types of financial benefits:

  1. Injury Benefit – for those who have were injured as a result of a severe and violent crime in Alberta.
  2. Death Benefit – for those who paid the funeral costs of a victim who died as a result of a violent crime in Alberta. The maximum death benefit amount is $12,500.00.
  3. Witness to Homicide Benefit – This is a relatively new benefit. For those that have been psychologically injured from witnessing a serious crime that resulted in death. Individuals who had a strong emotional attachment to the deceased, and they witnessed the death or was present in the immediate aftermath, can apply for this benefit. The maximum homicide benefit amount is $5,000.00.

Although this Financial Benefits Program does not cover all of the costs of damages or losses experienced, it’s goal is to provide some assistance during a devastating time. However, as a victim, you may submit a Statement of Restitution for the recovery of costs associated with property damage, medical expenses, loss of wages, and suffering.

As a Victim of Crime, what should I do?

First, make sure you call 911 and are in a safe place, away from any danger. The Government of Alberta also offers a range of free services including:

Once you are safe, we highly recommend chatting with a qualified lawyer to understand your rights. McGuiness Law offers free consultations where we can speak to you about the crime and advise the next steps that you should take.

As a female-only law firm, we deeply understand the far-reaching impact of trauma resulting from a crime. We are here to help support you and answer any questions you might have, judgment-free. Our team also has ASIST and Sexual Assault First Response training and understand how to compassionately work with those who have been a victim of sexual violence.

As a victim, you do have the ability to complete the Alberta Victims of Crime Financial Benefits Program application form on your own. You can find that form here: Victims of Crime Injury Application Form.

However, many of the individuals who have suffered traumatic injuries usually have trouble with the application process, or sometimes don’t know where to start. Unfortunately, the process can be confusing, and you may face bureaucratic obstacles.

Our team at McGuiness Law is here to help you navigate this overwhelming process. It is important to know that we cover all legal costs and you will not have to pay directly for our services. We do this because we understand how frustrated and stressed you may feel during this traumatic time. Our compensation will be deducted from your settlement, but it is typically less than industry standard rates.

Our team will do all the research and complete the paperwork for you as well as process the application.

When you work with our team, know that:

  • You do NOT have to go to court.
  • You will NOT have to face someone who has harmed you.
  • You will NOT have to speak for yourself. We do that for you.

Talk to us, and you will know your case is in good, caring hands. Book your free consultation with McGuiness Law today by calling 780 900 7941.