CAVEAT Chronicle

November 1999



The Organization

Our Work

A Word From the President


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.



CAVEAT is a grass-roots charitable organization serving as a non-partisan voice for all Canadians, working together for safety, peace, and justice.


The overriding principle of all components of the justice system must be the protection of society.


CAVEAT 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.


CAVEAT maintains its head office in Burlington, Ontario, with a regional office in Langley, British Columbia chaired by Chris Simmonds.


Our 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.


CAVEAT 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.



We believe that prevention is the most important factor in ending violence.

Youth Challenges

We 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:
  • Recognizing abusive and controlling relationships
  • Mediation skills for clarifying and resolving conflict
  • Learning about your own strengths and challenges
  • Understanding peer pressure; youth gangs
  • Learning to deal with anger effectively
  • How to establish a support group in your own school
  • Police: Media perception vs. reality
  • Bullying: strategies to help the victim, bully, teachers, and parents
  • Saying what you mean; communication in relationships; date rape
  • Understanding cultural diversity; discrimination
  • The dangers of dieting and the effects of control
  • Recognizing signs and signals of depression

Youth Council

The 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 Awards

CAVEAT 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 Project

The 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.


There 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 Displays

Information 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.
  • Health & Safety '95 Conference, Violence in the Workplace
  • Zonta Clubs, Niagara Falls, Hamilton and St. Catharines ON
  • Bereaved Families of Ontario, Brantford, ON
  • Provincial Canadian Federation of University Women
  • Victims Assistance Conference, Sheraton Guildford, BC
  • Women's Sexual Assault Helpline, Newmarket, ON
  • National Campus Safety Conference, University of Alberta
  • Victims of Crime forum, Windsor, ON
  • Canadore College, North Bay, ON
  • Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Conference
  • Brockville Lions Club, ON
  • Rotary Club of Langley Central, BC
  • Oshawa General Hospital, ON
  • Sault Ste. Marie Police Crime Prevention Forum, ON
  • Rotary Club of Chilliwack, BC
  • Justice Reform Rally, Fort St. John, BC
  • Canadian Federation of Junior Leagues, Edmonton, AB
  • Police Association of Ontario's Annual Convention, Toronto, ON
  • Dalhousie University Women's Centre, Halifax, NS
  • Hadassah-WIZO Council of Hamilton, ONand Hadassah-WIZO, Markham, ON
  • Provincial Symposium, Social Work Services, Peel Board of Education, ON
  • Ontario Block Parent Conference, Brantford, ON
  • Voices on Violence public forum, Courtney, BC
  • 6th Symposium on Violence & Aggression, Saskatoon, SK
  • Victims Services of Windsor & Essex County, ON
  • Upper Canada College, ON
  • Loyalist College, Belleville, ON
  • Conestoga College, Kitchener, ON
  • Halton Women's Teachers Association
  • ChildFind Conference, Oakville
  • American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON
  • Summer Institute on Crime Prevention & Resorative Justice, Fredericton, NB
  • HELP Conference, San Francisco

Forums & Workshops

CAVEAT 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.

Educational Programs

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 Awareness

CAVEAT 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.


  • CAVEAT volunteers conduct Victim Assistance Awareness Training sessions for the staff of the Correctional Service of Canada and other front line workers.
  • We make government submissions on the subject of victims' rights; often using victims' own stories as compiled by our Victims Resources Coordinator and victim committee volunteers, as reference material.
  • CAVEAT President, Priscilla de Villiers, is a member of the UN Expert Group on Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, the Victims Committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and Board of the Canadian Police Association's Victims Resource Centre.
  • We make court appearances to support victims. We believe that our presence in the courtroom helps to remind the courts that they are making decisions that will not only affect the offender, but the victim, the victim's family, and the general public.


  • We have held two 3-day national SafetyNet Conferences, attended by over 100 experts, to develop concrete recommendations for presentation to Federal, Provincial, & Territorial Governments. Areas covered in 1994 were crime prevention, victims' rights, young offenders, border security, community standards, firearms and public safety, high-risk offenders, and parole reform. SafetyNet 1995 focused on the protection of Canada's children, accountability in the justice system and examining the processes therein, and mobilizing the community.
  • We, along with other SafetyNet delegates, released the SafetyNet Report Card in November, 1995, grading all governments on their responses so far to the 146 recommendation from SafetyNet 1994.
  • We meet with justice officials to discuss the improvement of information flow between Police, Crown, Courts, Corrections Canada, and Parole, to help prevent violent criminals from slipping through cracks in the system.
  • We actively supported calls for the repeal of Section 745 of the Criminal Code which allows first degree murderers to apply to the courts for a reduction in their parole eligibility dates.
  • We are frequently called upon by government to make submissions and do so from the victim's perspective. We have addressed such topics as sentencing, victims' rights, anti-stalking legislation, killer cards and board games, gun control, the Young Offenders Act, and high risk offenders.
  • CAVEAT President, Priscilla de Villiers, was a member of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), a 25-member council of experts assembled by the federal government to study crime prevention in Canada.

Federal Government Submissions

May 13, 1999 Victims of Crime (Bill C-79)
April 21, 1999 Criminal Harassment (Bill S-17)
February 19, 1998 DNA (Bill C-3)
February 1997 High Risk Offenders (Bill C-55)
November 1994 & 1995 Amendments to Corrections & Conditional Release Act,
May 1996 Senate & Justice, (Bill C-45)
May 1995 Violence in the Media, CRTC
May 16, 1995 Gun Control, Justice Committee
September 22, 1995 Senate (Bill C-68)
November 1994 Sentencing (Bill C-41)
May 1, 1995 Amendments to Young Offenders Act (Bill C-37)
October 1994
May 1, 1994 Senate Sub-committee: Finance, Banking & Commerce,
Border Security (Bill C-2)
Crime Cards & Board Games (Bill C-80)
May 1993 Purpose & Principles of Sentencing (Bill C-90)
Anti-Stalking & Child Protection (Bill C-126)
November 1992 Crime Prevention, Horner Committee
February 1992 Correction & Conditional Release Act (Bill C-36)
December 1991 Gun Control (Bill C-17)

Provincial Government Submissions

March 1996 Auditor-General's Report
May 1995 Definition of "Victim of Crime" within the Criminal Injury Compensation Act, British Columbia
June 8, 1994 Control of ammunition and community-based crime prevention initiatives
April 13, 1994 Report Card presented at Queen's Park grading politicians, police and government departments on their responses to the 137 jury recommendations arising out of the 1992 Yeo inquest.
December 1, 1993 Royal Commission on Learning, Partnership: Education & the Community
May 1993 Treatment of Victims
Queens Park Presentation, Strategic Planning
Public Review on Hospital Act
Mental Health recommendations arising out of the Yeo Inquest.

Integrated Justice

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:

  • Ontario Psychiatric Association - Annual Meeting - Panel
  • Western Ontario Regional Conference & Victim Assistance Service
  • Queen's University Law School
  • McMaster University - International Women's Day - Panel
  • Crime Prevention Symposium - organized by the Federal Justice Dept. - Workshop
  • Canadian Bar Association - Health & Law Section - Panel
  • Senior Management Meeting of Correctional Services of Canada
  • Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police - Annual Meeting - Panel
  • Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police - Panel, Halifax Nova Scotia
  • Canadian Justice Association - Annual Meeting - Workshop - Quebec
  • Ontario Provincial Police College - Curriculum on death & bereavement committee
  • Ontario Secondary School Principals Conference
  • Ad hoc Interdepartmental Working Group on Information Systems on Child Sex Offenders - Health Canada, Justice Canada, and Min. of the Solicitor General
  • Preparatory Meeting on Workshops for the 9th UN Congress on Crime Prevention
  • Numerous NCPC (National Crime Prevention Council) conferences across Canada
  • Violence as a Public Health Issue, Forensic Mental Health Centre, Penetanguishene
  • Zonta International Summit on Violence Against Women - Washington, D.C.
  • Union of British Columbia Municipalities Annual Convention
  • CIAJ 1995 Conference: Public Perception of the Administration of Justice, Banff, AB
  • Participant, Expert Group Meeting on Victims of Crime & Abuse of Power, The Hague
  • CCRA Consultations on Justice
  • NOVA Conference, Orlando
  • World Health Organization, Quebec City
  • HELP Conference, San Fransisco
  • Alberta Summit on Justice

Federal Government Committees

  • Law Commission Advisory Council
  • The Reference Group, Ministry of the Solicitor General
  • Department of Justice Intermediate Sanctions
  • Conference on Victims and Correctional Services of Canada
  • Solicitor General's Ad Hoc Committee on High-Risk Offenders, 1993
  • Ministry of Justice Ad Hoc Committee on Crime Prevention, 1993

Papers Commissioned

  • The Homolka Review and The Reform of Plea Bargaining in Canada, prepared by Professor Alan Young, Osgoode Hall Law School, May 1996


The time is ripe for the public to take a far greater role in justice issues. Things are changing very rapidly: we are in a revolutionary phase. Involvement and partnerships of community groups in crime prevention is mandatory.

A major goal for CAVEAT is handing over much of its function to the community. Through this step alone, we will see positive, concrete changes toward a safer and more just society.

CAVEAT will continue to monitor the administration of justice at all levels, especially victims' rights issues and the education of the public on violence prevention.

The many CAVEAT volunteers that give of their time and expertise must never be forgotten. They are the strong backbone of the organization.

On behalf of CAVEAT and the board of directors, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our supporting members, without whom we would not have a voice. You are the people that allow us to be heard.

Priscilla de Villiers

Your Membership Helps Strengthen Our Stand.
Thank You For Your Support in 1998.

CAVEAT Chronicle - November 1999

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