The time is long overdue to shift from over-reliance on a ¨reactive, punishment and sensational case¨ agenda to a ¨victim centred, prevention and evidence based agenda¨. Canada must get smart on crime by supporting its pioneering best practices in effective community safety and victim rights, catch up with other advanced nations, and use evidence on what is cost effective.
Canada needs a Crime Reduction and Victim Assistance Act that establishes a National Crime Reduction and Victim Assistance Board to spearhead the shift to an effective violence reduction and victim assistance agenda, through federal, provincial, territorial and municipal collaboration to support all sectors with funding to establish standards, research and development, training and data. It should establish consensus to set and evaluate targets for 2025.
Interpersonal violence does $83 billion in harm to victims each year in Canada – equivalent to 5% of the Canadian GDP. We have the knowledge that investing as little as 1/10th of one percent of our GDP – $1.6 billion – in proven and logical prevention strategies annually would reduce this harm of interpersonal violence to victims by at least 50% by 2025. Why not?
Because investment in proven violence prevention would reduce street and intimate partner violence, it will reduce the demand for: expensive policing; jails overcrowded with persons waiting trial; and unnecessary incarceration. By 2025, it could avoid growth in expenditures on policing and prisons and so save $6 billion a year in current dollars.
Canada must also champion national standards for services and rights for all crime victims that are at least as good as other advanced nations. This will require a proportion of the new investment in prevention to go to the implementation and evaluation of actions that would truly support and show respect for victims of violence on streets, in intimate partnerships and in other areas of living.