Sudbury crime victims petition for help

Victims of crime gathered in Sudbury Thursday to lobby for more support and services.

Sudbury symposium hears from victims of crime who say it's time their voices were heard.

Victims of crime say they want respect and deserve at least as much help as the perpetrators of crime receive. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

Victims of crime gathered in Sudbury Thursday to lobby for more support and services.

The event was organized by Colin and Theresa Bulloch, whose son was stabbed to death in 2006.

Victims of crime gathered in Sudbury on Thursday to gain strength from each other and to add their voices to the call for their own Bill of Rights. They say they want measures such as compensation for employment lost during court appearances, and money for counselling should also be made available. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

They lost their house after their son was stabbed to death by his cousin.

Colin said he was too grief-stricken to work, and then couldn't work when he had to attend court for four months.

“We're still losing today and there's no compensation out there for loss of wages,” he said.

There needs to be compensation for lost wages and ongoing counselling, they added.

Sudbury's Claudette Lalonde said she's had little support since her son was stabbed to death while at the scene of a fight in 2009.

Although she received some money for grief counselling, she is still trying to cope.

“I [saw] three counsellors,” Lalone said. “They all [said] the same thing, I'm heading for something … I don't know what yet.”

Lalonde added her only other support was a provincially funded worker who guided her through the court system.

Her daughter and her dead son's children have had no help, she said.

‘Nothing left to help the victim’

Stories like these are all too familiar for the executive director of Victim's Services in Sudbury.  

Christine Rivard said she and one other person work full-time, and most of the outreach is done by 48 volunteers.

A volunteer is trained to help a victim at the time of the tragedy. Another provincially funded program helps victims navigate the court process.

But that's it, Rivard said.

“After the court process is done, there is nothing left to help that victim, even throughout the court process sometimes,” she said.

“So we'd like to see the victims’ support ongoing.”

The federal Ombudsman for victims of crime said more money for services is a constant refrain.

“But all levels of government have the responsibility and that's one thing that I've heard is the huge need to be able to ensure that we have financial support to provide the services that are needed by victims,” Sue O'Sullivan said.

The federal government is now considering the next step for a proposed Bill of Victim's Rights.

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