CAVEAT ChronicleNovember 1999
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mobilizing the Community
Forums & Workshops
Victims' Rights & Support
On August 9, 1991, Nina de Villiers was abducted and murdered, while jogging in Burlington, Ontario, by Jonathan Yeo, a man out on bail who had a long history of violence.
Nina's tragic murder led to an outpouring of emotion from friends and strangers alike. The messages reflected the fear that gripped the community -- the realization this could happen to anyone, that society is not protected by the justice system. In response to these concerns, the de Villiers family, along with some friends, decided to launch a petition to give Canadians a means of voicing this fear.
On February 7, 1994, The de Villiers Petition, signed by 2.5 Million Canadians, was presented to Justice Minister Allan Rock, in Ottawa. Due to public demand, CAVEAT continues to circulate the petition to allow concerned Canadians, who have not already done so, to sign it.
From April to August, 1992, a Coroner's Inquest examined Jonathan Yeo's eleven year history of attacks on women and how he had continually slipped through cracks in the Justice and Mental Health systems. The inquest revealed that, prior to killing Nina de Villiers, Yeo had been released on $3000 bail, with no weapons restrictions, after being charged with sexual assault and using a firearm. Yeo tried to leave the country, but was stopped at the border by a U.S. customs officer. The officer reported to Canadian Customs that Yeo seemed dangerous and had a firearm, his bail release form, and a suicide note. Canadian Customs officers felt they had no legal right to separate Yeo from his weapon, even though he was in violation of his bail by trying to leave the country. Yeo was allowed to return freely to Canada. One hour later, Yeo abducted Nina in Burlington and killed her using the same rifle he had used in the previous assault for which he was out on bail. Next, he went on to murder Karen Marquis in New Brunswick and then shot himself during a police pursuit in Hamilton, Ontario.
The jury of the Yeo Inquest produced 137 recommendations aimed at preventing such a tragedy from happening again. CAVEAT came into formal being as a voice committed to seeing that these recommendations are acted upon.
CAVEAT wants an integrated justice system that shares information and is accountable for the decisions. We seek justice, not revenge. We believe that the protection of the public must be the overriding goal of the justice system, and that the offender's rights should not be greater than those of the victim.
We focus on building safe and healthy communities through cooperative crime prevention and response initiatives.
MISSION STATEMENTCAVEAT is a grass-roots charitable organization serving as a non-partisan voice for all Canadians, working together for safety, peace, and justice.
PRINCIPLEThe overriding principle of all components of the justice system must be the protection of society.
CORPORATE STRUCTURECAVEAT was incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable organization in June, 1992 and received its charitable designation in October, 1992. The organization is governed by a volunteer board, of which Priscilla de Villiers is President. Professional staff and numerous volunteers manage the company and coordinate its various programs.
OFFICESCAVEAT maintains its head office in Burlington, Ontario, with a regional office in Langley, British Columbia chaired by Chris Simmonds.
MEMBERSHIPS & FUNDINGOur means of support is a community of Canadian shaken by senseless acts of violence and injustice. Our membership consists of victims, the general public, and includes a large youth contingent. The fact that over 80% of our members are not yet direct victims of violent crime gives our work balance and perspective. It shows that Canadians are deeply concerned about crime and public safety.
AFFILIATIONSCAVEAT is proud to be a member of: World Society of Victimology, Germany; National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), Washington, D.C.; National Victim Center, Forth Worth, Texas; National Justice Network, Ottawa; Bereavement Ontario Network; and Crime Prevention Ontario.
EDUCATIONWe believe that prevention is the most important factor in ending violence.
Youth ChallengesWe have held 5 Youth Challenges in Ontario and British Columbia to educate students on violence prevention and how to establish anti-violence programs within their own schools. Our blueprint for Youth Challenges is used by other organizations across Canada. Typical workshops issues addressed by Youth Challenge delegates are:
Youth CouncilThe CAVEAT Youth Councils in Niagara and Hamilton-Wentworth focus on violence prevention for youth. The councils consist of students, many of whom have been responsible for creating anti-violence groups in their own schools in the past. The Youth Council provides a voice for the silent majority of teens. It takes on youth projects of its own and contributes a very valuable youth perspective to CAVEAT's work. In 1996 the Council presented two forums: Books & Bullets on the Young Offenders Act and Monica's Story on power and control in relationships. On November 12, 1998, the Niagara Youth Council held a Harassment Workshop in St. Catharines. A similar workshop has been designed by the Hamilton-Wentworth Youth Council.
Youth AwardsCAVEAT Youth Awards are presented annually to students across Canada who have demonstrated a dedication to the prevention of violence through an individual act, or through involvement in a program or project aimed at helping stop violence in their community or school. CAVEAT calls for nominations from the public for the awards, which are granted to students 10 - 19 years of age.
Dynamic Partnership For Safe Schools ProjectThe Dynamic Partnership project led by Donna Mitchell, Ph.D. developed parent/staff teams which collaborated in dealing with violence at 3 elementary schools in Hamilton, Ontario. The teams met regularly for the 1995-96 school year to discuss violence-related issues and to devise effective means of dealing with violence both generally and in specific incidences of violence where a parent or teacher felt unable to deal with a situation (such as a child being bullied) independantly,. At the conclusion of the project, a guidebook was written, summarizing both the successes and failures of the project.
MOBILIZING THE COMMUNITYThere is never just one victim of violence. Each incident affects families, communities, and our entire country. We believe that everyone must take some responsibility in stopping violence.
Speaking Engagements & Information DisplaysInformation displays are routinely set up in malls and at community events across Canada. CAVEAT speakers have undertaken more than 400 speaking engagements, ranging from small schools and churches to large international conferences.
Forums & WorkshopsCAVEAT holds forums across Canada to educate the public on victims' issues, the workings of the justice system and crime prevention. A typical forum involves a panel of experts speaking about his/her own role in the system, usually followed by a question period. Workshops take a more hands-on approach and are held in cooperation with other community groups.
An ambitious national crime prevention Conference No More Fear is being organized for October 3-5, 1999 in Hamilton.
On November 6, 1998 CAVEAT, in partnership with Operation Springboard and The City of Toronto, presented Community Spirit: Keeping Kids Safe, a showcase for safe schools and communities at the St. Lawrence Market.
CAVEAT has successfully undertaken a series of educational workshops and roundtables dealing with criminal harassment. We intend to continue exploring this issue and to break new ground with related concerns, such as elder abuse and workplace harassment.
A Mental Health Roundtable co-hosted with The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) was held at Ryerson in Toronto. A report Meeting Our Obligations to the Seriously Mentally Ill documented recommendations arising from that roundtable.
Raising AwarenessCAVEAT has been instrumental in raising public awareness of the issues. We have established ourselves as a credible, non-partisan voice. We have brought victim's issues and stories to the forefront in: CBC's Prime Time News, Newsworld, Sunday Report, Early Edition, and Front Page Challenge, CTV's Canada AM & Dini Petty Show, Global TV, BCTV, CITY TV, CHCH TV, CBC Radio's Cross Country Check-up, CKNW's Rafe Maier Show, CFRB's Jane Hawtin Show, Michael Coren Show/CTS, CHFI's Chronicles, CHED/QR77, Chatelaine, BC Woman, Saturday Night, Homemakers, Hamilton magazine, Maclean's, Alberta Report, Reader's Digest, and most major Canadian newspapers.
THE CAVEAT REPORT replaces STOPWATCH as CAVEAT's national newsletter that keeps victims, our members and the public abreast of current issues relating to justice and violence prevention.
THE YOUTH CHALLENGE PACKAGE is a valuable tool for anyone interested in holding violence awareness days in their school or community. It consists of: Break the Silence a book that provides step by step instructions on forming committees and setting up workshops; The Resource Handbook that gives an overview of CAVEAT's Youth Challenge; and an inspirational Youth Challenge Video depicts the energy the '93 event.
NURTURING COLLABORATION BETWEEN FAMIliES AND SCHOOLSis an innovative publication documenting three case studies of dynamic partnerships for safe schools. It is a blueprint for setting up partnerships with parents, school staff and students to deal with violence issues.
SAFETYNET PACKAGE. The 1994 CAVEAT SafetyNet Conference assembled Canada's leading justice reform and community safety activists. Working groups consisted of victims, victim advocates, politicians, judges, police, customs officers, educators, psychiatrists, and legal experts. In all, 146 recommendations for reforming the justice system and improving public safety were produced and documented in the SafetyNet 1994 Final Report. The report was presented to all federal, provincial and territorial governments and, in November 1995, the SafetyNet Report Card was released, grading governments on their responses to the recommendations to date. Shortly thereafter, following another successful conference, the SafetyNet 1995 Final Report was released, containing 67 more recommendations.
VICTIMS' RIGHTS & SUPPORT
Federal Government Submissions
Provincial Government Submissions
A major problem CAVEAT sees within the justice system is lack of co-ordination between departments. We believe in an integrated justice system with inter-jurisdictional information sharing. CAVEAT staff and volunteers work with front-line workers and justice administrators to identify and correct problems within the system.
Provincial, National, & International Conferences
CAVEAT has taken part in conferences examining various aspects of the criminal justice system and crime prevention, notably:
Federal Government Committees
CAVEAT Chronicle - November 1999