As the victims’ rights movement progresses in Canada and around the world, our country has seen the growth and development of a service sector of victim assistance workers tasked with supporting victims of crime – from an initial disclosure all the way to supporting a family when an offender is granted parole.

Despite a rapid expansion of services for victims of crime, there has been limited research on how victims of crime experience these services and how they navigate different service providers and negotiate to meet their needs.

That’s why the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), a federal research funding agency, is supporting an important new applied research project at Algonquin College – marking the first time the agency has supported an applied research project at Algonquin College.

As announced in Toronto this afternoon by Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, SSHRC has awarded $207,210 in funding to the Algonquin College Victimology graduate certificate program over three years to fund the efforts of a team of seven – including Victimology students, in partnership with the Victim Justice Network (VJN) – to study how victims of crime can be best served by the support systems designed to help them.

“Our program was launched in part to offer enhanced training for service providers on the specific vulnerabilities and sensitivities of victims of crime as they respond to adversity and navigate the criminal justice system,” said Dr. Benjamin Roebuck, Coordinator, Victimology program. “Through this applied research project, we aim to create innovative training materials, contribute a Canadian perspective to international literature on the subject, and examine how the strengths of victims of crime contribute to their resilience. This project will be a meaningful learning opportunity for our students, and our team hopes that the results will be useful to survivors of violence and those who serve them.”

“We are fortunate to have the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for this important applied research,” added Marissa Locke, one of the students working on this project. “This will be both a significant learning opportunity for us and the industry which we will be working in, and I hope it will result in better, more informed services for victims of crime.”

“Our mandate is to promote awareness, understanding and support for victims of crime in our society,” said Priscilla de Villiers, Executive Director with the Victim Justice Network – a key partner in this project. “We are pleased to play a role and support this important applied research, ideally reducing the trauma experienced by victims of crime through their interactions with the criminal justice system.”

The project, which began in the fall, will run for three years and will include consultations with survivors and service provides, an online survey, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and a strong focus on knowledge dissemination. Findings will be presented in venues including the World Society of Victimology annual conference in Croatia, the Critical Criminology & Social Justice Conference in Ottawa, and at Algonquin College Applied Research Days and other project-specific events and webinars.

At its conclusion, a series of recommendations will be issued to Ontario’s Office for Victims of Crime and Ministry of the Attorney General, and articles will be submitted to peer reviewed journals.

For the full press release visit:

http://www.algonquincollege.com/public-relations/2016/01/21/victimology-program-receives-200000-in-research-funding-over-three-years/