By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Edmonton – A fund created from the forfeiture and sale of criminal property is now being used to provide grants to victims’ groups and crime prevention projects, the province announced Tuesday.
“Civil forfeiture is about disrupting the business of crime and compensating victims,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General Alison Redford in a release Tuesday. “The hard work of the police and Civil Forfeiture Office is now allowing us to remove illegal proceeds of crime from our communities and use them to help domestic violence victims in rural areas access the programs and support they need to be safe and move forward.”
The province introduced the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act in the fall of 2008 under the Safe Communities initiative as a long-term way to address crime while supporting victims of illegal activity. Through the Civil Forfeiture Office, property gained through criminal acts is seized and if the court action is successful, forfeiture is ordered. Proceeds accrued through the sale of forfeited property are now being used to fund victims’ groups and crime prevention programs.
The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters has received $150,000 from the first stream of grants from the fund to launch a pilot project called Making Amends: Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence in Rural Alberta. The project will help meet the immediate safety needs of domestic violence victims in rural communities and support enhanced training for staff. This includes providing transportation for victims, security system upgrades and education sessions for non-urban shelter staff to help victims access legal services.
The government reports that since establishing the Civil Forfeiture Office, more than $19.1 million in property and cash tied to criminal activity has been restrained, including vehicles used in drug dealing and homes used for marijuana grow operations.