Advocates for victims of violent crime take their demands to Parliament Hill
OTTAWA -- September 25 is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.
For Rodney Stafford, it is a day of action to advocate for tougher sentences for offenders and better services and support for the victims of violent crime.
Stafford took his concerns to Parliament Hill on Saturday, organizing a protest and rally to shine a light on what he says are the shortcomings of Canada’s justice system.
"Our goal is to go out and push to make sure people understand this is happening far too often," Stafford said. "I want to continue pushing the government; we need change, we need justice reform and corrections reform that works."
In 2009, Stafford's eight-year-old daughter Tori was abducted, raped and murdered in Woodstock, Ont. Michael Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic were convicted in Tori's death.
Since then, fighting for victims and their families has been Stafford’s mission.
Torie Daniels’s aunt, who was a victim of domestic violence, was murdered and her body found frozen in the trunk of a car. She was in Ottawa on Saturday to give a voice to the voiceless and let people know the damage inflicted by violent crime can affect families for generations.
"For anybody that has a heart this is something whether you are directly affected or not, it’s something that affects everybody," Daniels said. "I’m not only here for my aunt, who was murdered due to domestic violence, but for all the others that have been lost."
Those gathered demanding the criminal justice system, at the very least, needs to offer their loved ones the same services and support offered to offenders.
"Just trying to keep the victim's rights, I don’t want to say above the criminal, but there needs to be a bit more put into those affected by the crime," Daniels said.
For Stafford, he will be back until politicians and the public realize the victims of violent crime are not just those who lose their lives, but the families and friends who are left behind.
"Together we can make that change."