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New victims-rights watchdog appointed nearly a year after former ombud's departure

OTTAWA — The federal government is tapping an internationally recognized expert in the field of victimology to take over as Canada's victims-rights watchdog. Benjamin Roebuck is replacing Heidi Illingworth as the Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime.
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Heidi Illingworth, federal ombudsman for victims of crime, takes part in an interview at her office in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The federal government is tapping an internationally recognized expert in the field of victimology to take over as Canada's victims-rights watchdog.

Benjamin Roebuck is replacing Heidi Illingworth as the Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime.

He has spent more than 15 years working as a researcher and educator on victim rights, including at Algonquin College where he has been a professor since 2010. 

Illingworth was critical of the government before leaving the role last October, saying there had been no meaningful efforts to inform victims of their rights or make the system accountable for its failings to deliver.

The Department of Justice has also faced criticism for leaving the position vacant for nearly a year, and for not launching an application process until the end of February. 

The office was created in 2007 with a mandate to support and advocate for victims, including making recommendations to the federal government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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