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What is IVAC?

Crime victims often suffer from profound and lasting physical, psychological, financial and social challenges directly related to the criminal event. Fortunately, Quebec offers support through the Indemnisation des Victimes d’Actes Criminels (IVAC), a program designed to ease the burden on victims, their loved ones, and rescuers who intervene in critical situations.

In this article, our Montreal victim lawyers explain what IVAC is, who can benefit from its services, and how the compensation system works for Quebec residents who have been affected by crime.

IVAC: roles and responsibilities

The Indemnisation des Victimes d’Actes Criminels (IVAC) is a Quebec government program that was created to support people who have suffered harm as a result of criminal acts committed within the province. The program aims to provide financial assistance and support to victims of crime and rescuers, to help them overcome the physical, psychological and financial consequences of the crimes they witnessed or suffered.

IVAC provides a variety of services focused on the well-being of victims.

Financial support

IVAC offers various forms of financial compensation to offset loss of income and cover medical expenses, moving expenses, childcare costs, psychotherapy sessions, and even funeral expenses in the event of the victim’s death. This aid is intended to alleviate the immediate financial strain caused by the repercussions of a criminal act.

Support for victims and rescuers

Beyond financial assistance, IVAC’s mission also includes supporting victims and rescuers in their recovery process. This includes providing crime victims with access to psychotherapeutic and psychosocial rehabilitation services, and physical rehabilitation and social reintegration services.

IVAC eligibility criteria

Victims must meet several eligibility criteria to benefit from the services offered by the Indemnisation des Victimes d’Actes Criminels (IVAC) in Quebec. These conditions ensure that the support offered by IVAC reaches those who need it most.

Eligible crimes

For a crime to be eligible for IVAC compensation, it must have directly caused physical or psychological harm to the victim. This includes, but is not limited to, physical and sexual assault, domestic violence and other forms of direct violence. Crimes against property, such as theft or fraud, are generally not covered, unless they result in direct physical or psychological harm to the victim.

Eligible victims

An eligible victim is someone who has been directly affected by the criminal act, either as the target of the crime or as a rescuer responding to the event. The victim’s next of kin, such as immediate family members, may also be eligible for compensation if the victim has died or suffered serious injury.

Exceptions and deadlines for applications

There are some exceptions to the deadlines for submitting a claim to the IVAC. Generally, victims have three years from the time they become aware of the impact of the crime on their lives to make a claim. However, for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence or childhood abuse, there is no time limit, as long as the incidents occurred after March 1, 1972.

For crimes that occurred before this date, or for applications made after the three-year time limit, an application will only be considered if the applicant can provide evidence of a legitimate reason for the delay.

Types of compensation and services offered by IVAC

The Indemnisation des Victimes d’Actes Criminels (IVAC) in Quebec offers a wide range of compensation and services designed to support victims of crime and their loved ones, as well as rescuers. Here is an overview of the financial assistance and specific services available:

Financial aid

  • Medical expenses: IVAC reimburses medical expenses that are directly related to a criminal act. This may include medication, medical treatment and specialized consultations.
  • Child care: For crime victims who must rely on childcare to undergo medical or therapeutic treatment, IVAC may cover the cost of this service.
  • Psychological assistance: IVAC recognizes the psychological impact of crime. Victims could be awarded compensation for psychotherapy or psychosocial counselling that helps them overcome trauma related to the crime.
  • Moving expenses: If the victim is not safe at their current home as a result of the crime, the IVAC may cover moving expenses.
  • Crime scene clean-up: In cases where the victim’s home has been the scene of a crime, IVAC may cover the cost of clean-up.

Services for the families of deceased victims

  • Compensation for next of kin: IVAC provides compensation for a deceased victim’s next of kin, such as children and spouse. This compensation is intended to offset the loss of financial and emotional support.
  • Funeral expenses: Part of the funeral expenses may be reimbursed to ease the financial burden on loved ones.

How to apply to IVAC

Quebec crime victims can apply to the Indemnisation des Victimes d’Actes Criminels (IVAC) by following a step-by-step process.

  1. Initial medical consultation: Consult a doctor as soon as possible after the criminal event. The doctor will assess your injuries and draw up a medical report or attestation, which will serve as the basis for your claim.
  2. Documents and evidence: Assemble all relevant documents to support your claim. This includes, but is not limited to, police reports, receipts for expenses incurred in connection with the crime (medication, travel expenses, psychotherapy, etc.), and any other relevant documentation.
  3. Application form: Download and complete the appropriate application form from the IVAC website. You will need to choose the correct form according to whether you are applying as an adult victim, minor victim (under 18), or rescuer.
  4. Submitting your file: Once you’ve completed the application form and assembled all relevant documents, submit your file to the IVAC. Be sure to include objective proof of injury and any other supporting documents requested.

The importance of objective evidence

Objective proof of injury establishes the link between the crime and the physical or psychological damage you have suffered. This proof can take the form of a detailed medical report, notes from a psychological consultation, or any other medical document that demonstrates how the crime has directly affected your health.

The role of lawyers in the IVAC process

An IVAC lawyer can provide much-needed assistance to victims who are navigating the compensation process, and help make the procedure simple and efficient.

Legal advice

A victim lawyer will first provide an initial assessment of the case to determine whether the claim is admissible. They will advise victims on the best strategy and inform them of their rights under Quebec law.

Preparing and submitting your application

The lawyer helps to assemble all the necessary documents, fill in the claim form correctly and draw up a solid file that effectively presents the victim’s case to the IVAC. This step should not be taken lightly, as a well-prepared file increases the chances of prompt and fair compensation.

Representation at the Direction générale de l’IVAC

In the event of a dispute, or if your application is rejected, you can contest the IVAC’s decision. A victim lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and effectively defend your interests.

Guidance and support

In addition to taking care of technical aspects, a victim lawyer will also provide moral and psychological support, as they recognize that victims have often been traumatized by their experience. Victims of crime can often benefit greatly from the reassurance of a qualified and experienced professional at their side. If you need help, feel free to contact the experts at Bégin Avocat.

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