Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay says a new bill he hopes to bring to the House of Commons will try to help victims of crime from being hurt again as their complaints move through the criminal justice system.
"There is a pressing need to do a better job in supporting victims, their families, and even the definition of the victim is something that requires revisiting," MacKay said Monday in St. John's, where he held the latest in a series of roundtable discussions.
MacKay said he has so far heard a litany of complaints, particularly of a justice system that is riddled with red tape and which further hurts victims with slow action and a lack of information.
In some instances, he said the system has failed to show even the most basic respect.
Advocates who attended the session said they feel shortchanged by the system.
"When you want to address a problem, first and foremost you have to keep it in sight and in people's minds," said Connie Pike, who works with the Coalition Against Violence in St. John's.
"I don't think that violence, and violence against women in particular, have been treated with that kind of priority," said Pike.
MacKay said that identifying concerns is one thing, but paying for them is another.
"That will be the critical piece, ensuring that we provide the tools and in some cases the resources," he said.