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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government has introduced amendments to the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act that would enhance the discretion to provide support to the families of deceased victims of crime who may otherwise have been ineligible, as well as the right to free legal counsel for victims in sexual assault criminal cases, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“This bill amends the Victims’ Bill of Rights to allow for more discretion by administrators of the victims services programs in supporting families of deceased victims of crime who might otherwise not have been eligible through no fault of their own but who are in need of support,” said Goertzen. “Supporting victims of crime is important to healing and ending the cycle of victimization. These amendments are another step to ensuring the justice system not only holds offenders accountable but upholds victims during the time they need support.”

The proposed amendments would also address cases of sexual assault where an accused is seeking personal information of the victim through an application of the Criminal Code, or there is a court determination about the admissibility of evidence about the victim in a sexual assault case, the victim is entitled to support for legal counsel through victims services.

The minister noted some support would include grief counselling, travel and accommodation expenses incurred to attend the victim’s funeral, counselling sessions, funeral coverage, bereavement leave and child benefits/spousal wage loss.