Warawa’s ‘Safe at Home’ bill now law of the land

Langley MP Mark Warawa - Langley Times file photo
Langley MP Mark Warawa
— image credit: Langley Times file photo

Langley MP Mark Warawa’s Private Member’s Bill C-489, called “The Safe at Home Bill” has received royal assent in Ottawa — making the bill law.

The bill, which came about after a Langley sex offender was able to serve out his sentence while living right across the street from his victim, was passed at all stages in the House of Commons and Senate, and with royal assent the bill is now law and will come into effect in three months.

“On behalf of myself, victims and their families in my riding, and the thousands of young victims of sexual assault in Canada, thank you for acting to strengthen the tools to protect the safety and security of victims and their families so that they will be safe at home,” said Warawa.

This legislation amends the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act so that child sexual offenders will be prohibited from being within two kilometres of a victim’s dwelling, or an appropriate distance specified by the court.

The bill also requires that the courts consider that criminal offenders subject to parole be under strict conditions not to contact their victims.

The Safe at Home Bill was created after the Langley girl was forced to have the man who sexually assaulted her serve out his sentence living right across from her Murrayville home.

The victim felt imprisoned, too afraid to go out and possibly see him.

“The victim and their family lived with unimaginable turmoil when the sex offender was permitted to serve the sentence right across the street,” said Warawa.

“Victims have been forgotten and their safety and wellbeing has not being considered in the sentencing of offenders. The Safe at Home Bill will ensure that victims and their families are being heard and that they can feel safe in their own homes and communities.”

Sadly, the circumstances in Langley are not isolated events, said Warawa. According to a Statistics Canada’s recent report on police-reported crime, there were nearly 4,000 cases of sexual assault against children in Canada in 2012.

Furthermore, Statistics also found that 88 per cent of sexual assaults against children and youth are committed by someone known to the victim prior to the offence.

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