section 722(4)


This section defines the term victim in relation to an offence as a person who has suffered harm or loss, including their spouse, relatives, or caretakers if the person is dead, ill, or unable to make a statement.


722(4) For the purposes of this section and section 722.2, "victim", in relation to an offence, (a) means a person to whom harm was done or who suffered physical or emotional loss as a result of the commission of the offence; and (b) where the person described in paragraph (a) is dead, ill or otherwise incapable of making a statement referred to in subsection (1), includes the spouse or common-law partner or any relative of that person, anyone who has in law or fact the custody of that person or is responsible for the care or support of that person or any dependant of that person.


Section 722(4) is a provision within the Criminal Code of Canada that defines the term "victim" for the purposes of two other sections (722 and 722.2) that deal with victim impact statements. When a person is convicted of an offence, a victim impact statement may be given by the victim or someone on their behalf to describe the harm they suffered as a result of the crime. However, not every person who is affected by a crime is considered a victim under the law. This section clarifies that a victim is a person who has suffered harm, either physical or emotional, as a result of the offence. This can include a wide range of situations, such as assault, theft, fraud, or any other criminal activity that causes harm to an individual. Additionally, this section notes that if the victim is dead, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to give a statement, other individuals may be considered "victims" for the purposes of the victim impact statement. These individuals can include the victim's spouse, common-law partner, or any relative, as well as anyone who has custody of the victim or is responsible for their care or support. Furthermore, any dependants of the victim may also be considered victims under this section. This ensures that those who are affected by the crime, even if they are not able to speak out themselves, have the opportunity to have their experiences acknowledged in court. Overall, this provision helps to ensure that victim impact statements accurately reflect the harm suffered as a result of criminal activity.


Section 722(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential provision that defines the term "victim" in relation to an offence. The section is significant as it plays a fundamental role in determining the rights and entitlements of individuals who have suffered harm or loss as a result of criminal activity. It specifies the categories of persons who may be considered a victim and therefore receive protection and support under Canadian law. The first part of subsection 722(4)(a) defines a victim as a person to whom harm was done or suffered physical or emotional loss as a result of the commission of the offence. This definition explicitly recognizes that harm does not necessarily have to be physical, but can also be emotional, and that emotional harm can result in significant loss as well. Under this definition, a victim could be anyone who has experienced any type of harm or loss due to a criminal act. This includes individuals who have been physically assaulted, but also those who have suffered emotional trauma, such as the victims of cyberbullying or identity theft. Subsection 722(4)(b) builds on the first part of the definition, providing further clarification about how to identify a victim in certain circumstances. The clause states that if a person described in paragraph (a) is deceased, ill, or otherwise incapable of providing a statement referred to in subsection (1), then the term "victim" also includes other individuals who have a relationship with that person. This includes a spouse or common-law partner, any relative, anyone who has custody of the person, anyone responsible for the care or support of the person, or any dependent of that person. The inclusion of this clause recognizes the reality that some victims may not be able to provide a statement or testimony due to various reasons. For example, a victim of a violent crime may have died as a result of the crime, or they may be too traumatized or unwell to provide a statement. In such circumstances, this provision maintains that those who have a close relationship with the victim also deserve protection and support. It enables the family members of the victim to have a voice and be recognized even if the victim cannot speak for themselves. Overall, Section 722(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is important because it defines and recognizes the rights and entitlements of victims in the criminal justice system. It asserts that the harm and loss caused by the offence do not just affect the victim alone, but also their loved ones and anyone responsible for their care. This provision ensures that these individuals receive acknowledgment and support from the Canadian legal system, fostering a sense of justice and inclusivity.


Section 722(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides the definition of a victim in relation to an offense. The definition encompasses anyone who has suffered harm, physical or emotional, or incurred any kind of loss as a result of an offense. The section also includes individuals who are unable to make a statement, such as those who are dead, ill, or incapable. The inclusion of such individuals is necessary as the criminal justice system aims to provide justice and protect the interests of the affected individuals, despite their incapacity. Strategic considerations arising from Section 722(4) relate to how the legal system and stakeholders respond to the needs of victims. Addressing victims' needs entails a holistic and compassionate approach that is geared towards the restoration of dignity, empowerment, and well-being. Here are some strategic considerations and possible strategies to employ while dealing with Section 722(4). First, justice stakeholders should prioritize the needs of victims in the aftermath of an offense. This includes providing adequate information, support, and services that fulfill the victim's psychological, physical, and legal needs. One strategy to accomplish this is the use of victim service programs that are geared towards providing support, information and referrals to victims of crime. For example, the Victim Services Unit within the Canadian criminal justice system provides crisis intervention, counseling, and court support to victims. Second, justice stakeholders should also ensure that victims' voices and perspectives are heard and considered in the legal system. A victim-centered approach aims to ensure that a victim's interests and concerns are prioritized within all steps of the legal process. This includes an emphasis on empowering victims to participate in the legal process and make informed decisions regarding their interests. The Restorative Justice process is one possible strategy that prioritizes victim engagement and empowerment in the legal process. Third, justice stakeholders should recognize the trauma that victims of crime may experience and provide a trauma-informed response that caters to the victims' unique needs. A trauma-informed approach is designed to avoid re-traumatizing the victim and create a safe and supportive atmosphere that fosters healing. One way to employ this strategy is by ensuring that justice stakeholders undergo training to understand and recognize the impact of trauma on victims. Additionally, the use of specialized trauma-focused counseling services could help the victims to recover from their trauma. In conclusion, dealing with Section 722(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires a concerted effort by all justice stakeholders to ensure that victims' needs are met. Strategies that prioritize the needs, voices, and trauma of the victim, such as victim service programs, restorative justice, and trauma-informed approaches can go a long way in ensuring that justice is served. Ultimately, the justice system should be geared towards providing a safe, supportive, and empowering environment that caters to the unique needs of victims.