Nearly $300,000 available from surcharges levied on fines against convicted criminals

Fund seeking proposals for victims of crime

By JOHN BIRD

"Carpal tunnel," is Al Hartley's terse response when asked about the strange-looking braces he's wearing on both wrists.

"I've been writing so many emails and documents," he says. "I've been going just as fast as I can type."

Just four months into his position as director of community justice for Nunavut's department of justice, Hartley is also filling in as acting victim assistance coordinator until that position is filled.

That means he has been busy rewriting the application guidelines for the Victim Assistance Fund, and making sure they are distributed as widely and quickly as possible throughout the Nunavut's hamlets, towns and city.

The Victims Assistance Fund supports community-level projects to help victims of crime – and it's currently seeking proposals.

You have to be quick to get one in, though, as the closing date for this call is June 5. It's a pretty firm deadline, too, says Hartley, although he admits he'll still look at proposals that come in within a day or two of June 5.

The fund consists of money from surcharges of up to 20 per cent levied on fines imposed by the Nunavut courts on anyone convicted of a crime. The court can also charge a straight $25 fee if a fine is not part of the sentence.

It was established under the Victims of Crime Act, originally passed by the Government of the Northwest Territories and inherited by Nunavut.

Many people convicted in Nunavut courts can't pay their fines, Hartley notes, so the fund doesn't grow that quickly.

Nevertheless, it currently contains about $290,000.

Individual projects can only be funded to a maximum of $10,000, which means more than 29 projects could be supported at this point.

"In my heart, my objective is spend all that money," Hartley says. "It belongs in the community, doing things."

He is quite open to having applicants with larger projects apply to support phase one of the project this time, and then apply for funds for phase two, when the second annual call for proposals goes out in the fall.

Money received for projects from this call for proposals should be spent by the end of October.

So just what kinds of projects will the Victims Assistance Fund support?

It is intended for community-based projects that help victims of crime through activities like:

  • crisis response, counselling, personal support and other direct services to victims of crime;
  • public awareness and information on the criminal justice system, the rights of victims or available services for victims; and
  • training for resource workers;

Past projects have included:

  • a pilot program for training women's shelter workers;
  • workshops on grief and loss offered through Nunavut Arctic College's Mental Health Program;
  • a land-based healing retreat offered in Clyde River;
  • a children-at-risk, after-school program offered through an Iqaluit primary school;
  • a training and information program in Cambridge Bay for workers and volunteers who support victims of violence; and
  • life-skills training for youth and adult males deemed at risk of offending.

A lot of land-based programs are funded, Hartley says, but each one has to contain concrete objectives and content.

"You don't just go out there and drink tea," he says. Proposals have to tell the committee "what's going to happen when you're out there."

And that applies to all projects seeking funding.

Fund grants can cover facilitator fees and honoraria, accommodation and travel costs for participants, administrative costs and supplies, equipment rentals and production costs, including interpretation, translation, typing and printing.

The fund will not cover direct capital purchases or direct financial compensation to individual victims of crime.

Nunavummiut interested in having a look at the guidelines can get a copy from their local municipal office. Or get in touch with Al Hartley at 867-975-6176 or ahartley@gov.nu.ca.

Share This Story

(0) Comments