Independent panel to direct $5M to assist Manitoba crime victims

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The Pallister government is channelling $5 million from convict fees to a new independent panel for helping Manitoba crime victims.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/07/2021 (438 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Pallister government is channelling $5 million from convict fees to a new independent panel for helping Manitoba crime victims.

“I think our combined experiences will give us some well-rounded perspective to work with,” said Wilma Derksen, who is among the three leaders of the newly incorporated Victim’s Assistance Community Grants Inc.

The group will administer funding from the victim surcharge fund, which the courts collect from those convicted of crimes.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Victim’s Assistance Community Grants Inc. board member Wilma Derksen at announcement for new funding supports for victims of crime at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

Derksen is a longtime restorative justice advocate whose daughter, Candace, 13, was killed in 1984 in Winnipeg.

She will be joined by Ron Evans, a former grand chief from Norway House Cree Nation and former PC candidate, and Cydney Bergen, who has volunteered with numerous Winnipeg groups and spoke about her parents’ roots in the Caribbean.

Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said Tuesday the panel will use their diverse experiences to select grant recipients, instead of a cumbersome bureaucratic process.

The one-time funding transfer is intended to be allotted over the course of five years, through multiple intake periods for groups to apply.

Evans said the group still hasn’t formed its mandate.

“We have not had any really in-depth conversations, and now we can start to have discussions about what’s missing,” he said.

NDP justice critic Nahanni Fontaine said she hopes the funding makes up for unfilled positions within victim services.

“I don’t think that anybody would argue with the fact that victims deserve to have those resources that they need… and we’ve seen a deterioration in the last five years,” she said.

Friesen said the funding is intended to address Manitoba’s obligations under its gender-based violence framework, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada on residential schools, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

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