Ottawa, ON — Today, Langley MP Mark Warawa received overwhelming support for his Private Member’s Bill, C-489 called “The Safe at Home Bill,” through a standing vote. The decision was concluded only two days after the last hour of debate and only two and a half weeks after the bill was table in the House of Commons by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
“It is an honour to receive overwhelming support for my bill,” said the Langley MP. “I thank all Members of Parliament for standing to keep victims of sexual assault safe from being re-victimized through contact with their offender.”
“I especially want to thank the Members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for their thorough consideration of the Bill,” said Warawa. “C-489 will go a long way toward ensuring that victims and their families can feel safe in their own homes and communities.”
“Now that the Safe at Home Bill has gone through the House of Commons, it must go through the same process in the Senate,” said Warawa. “I am hopeful that we will be able to receive royal assent before the summer of 2014.”
The story behind “The Safe at Home Bill” came as a result of a victim and their family in Langley, BC. “A victim and their family lived with unimaginable stress and turmoil when the sex offender of their child was permitted to serve the sentence right across the street,” said Warawa. “Victims believe that they have been forgotten and that their safety and wellbeing is not being considered in the sentencing of offenders. This is what Bill C-489 seeks to address.”
Bill C-489 will amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act so that child sexual offenders will be prohibited from coming within two kilometres of a victim’s dwelling, or the appropriate distance specified by the court. The bill also proposes that all criminal offenders subject to parole or conditional sentences be under strict conditions not to contact their victims, unless the victim consents or there are exceptional circumstances.
Bill C-489 also proposes to include similar non-contact conditions for section 810.1 “peace bonds” that are imposed on suspected child sexual offenders. This provision in the Criminal Code allows a recognizance with conditions to be imposed on any individual by a court if there is a reasonable fear that the defendant will commit a sexual offence against a child under the age of 16.