Are victims involved in parole hearings?
- Kate Mitchell
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Victims have the option to participate in hearings before the Ontario Parole Board and the Parole Board of Canada.
Note that victim is a broad category that refers to any individual who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss as the result of the commission of an offence.
Victims can attend hearings, and they can also make a statement to the Board. Statements may be given orally, through written submissions, or in some other form. Victims can make statements about the effects and impacts the offence had on them, the continuing impact on them, and their view on the granting of parole or a temporary absence.
In order to attend, victims have to submit an application. Applications may be denied in some narrow situations, for example if victims would disrupt the hearing or if their presence would affect the security and good order of the institution. Generally, efforts will be made to allow victims to participate in some form or another.
Victims are also entitled to disclosure of certain information, including an offender’s eligibility dates and hearing dates for parole and temporary absences. Other information may be disclosed where the interests of victim to disclosure outweigh invasion of the offender’s privacy.