More Support Coming to Victims of Violent Crimes in Mississauga
Victims of crime in Mississauga and their families are getting more support from the provincial government.
On Friday, September 6, the Ontario Government unveiled new supports to make it easier for victims of violent crime to get the help they need when and where they need it most.
The Victim Quick Response Program + (VQRP+), is an enhanced program to support victims of violent crimes. The new plan builds on the existing VQRP by making it easier for victims and their families to access services and supports faster.
Starting October 1, victims of many violent crimes will be able to access VQRP+, which will offer enhanced supports to help cover emergency and essential expenses, funerals and counselling costs. The program is for victims and families whose lives have been impacted by violence, including intimate partner violence, human trafficking, homicide, and hate crimes.
"With the enhanced VQRP+ program, our government is putting people first by ensuring programs directly support victims, their immediate family members, and witnesses in the immediate aftermath of violent crimes. VQRP+ will relieve some of the burden caused by the crime, enhance safety, and meet their practical needs," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "At the same time, we are ensuring this provincial program will also help serve as a bridge to longer-term health and social supports."
Under VQRP+, victims do not have to pay out of pocket for eligible expenses. Designated agencies in communities across Ontario will support victims in the immediate aftermath of a crime and will assist victims in accessing the supports they need.
Victims also won't be forced to relive their trauma through a long and complicated adjudicative process, which was something they did when applying under the previous system. Victims will quickly receive the supports they need, often within days of applying, and, in some cases, immediately.
VQRP+ will also provide up to $20,000 in funding for residential in-patient treatment for survivors of human trafficking, up from $10,000.
Human trafficking is a growing problem in Ontario, which includes crimes related to sexual exploitation and forced labour. Survivors will also be able to access increased support for safety and immediate supports and medical-related expenses.
Families of homicide victims will also be supported through VQRP+. These families are currently provided under the Financial Assistance for Families of Homicide Victims (FAFHV) program. A spouse of a homicide victim or each parent of a child homicide victim will receive up to $5,000 in financial support.
"Practical and immediate support is vital in helping victims heal and rebuild their lives, especially human trafficking victims and families of homicide victims, who typically need numerous types of emergency and long-term services," said Sheri MacDonald, the President of the Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers. "VQRP+ will bring real relief to more survivors in the aftermath of their victimization. We commend the Government of Ontario's commitment to investing in programs that support victims of crime and look forward to collaborating on enhancing more services for victims."
As a result of the enhancements, VQRP+ will be a coordinated, province-wide, and victim-centred service delivery model.
The hope is that this enhanced program will be faster, more accessible for victims to navigate and apply to, and will focus on providing the support victims need in the immediate aftermath of a violent crime.
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