OTTAWA -- Algonquin College has launched its new Victimology Research Centre.

The official launch took place during Victims and Survivors Crime Week with a panel discussion.

The centre studies the experiences of survivors of violent crime. They say Ottawa has been experiencing a shift in the demographics and profile of homicide victims.

Benjamin Roebuck is research chair at the centre and professor.

“A disproportionate number of people in minority communities are being impacted by homicide,” he said. “People who are Black are five times over represented as victims of homicide in Ottawa compared to their percentage of the population. Middle-Eastern people are four times over-represented.”

Roebuck says that the age of the victim also tells a story. 

“People who are Black or Middle-Eastern who are dying by homicide, it tends to be when they’re younger, and for Caucasian people in Ottawa who die by homicide, it tends to be older.”

Younger victims tend to be victims of street violence, whereas older victims are more likely to be affected by family or partner violence, Roebuck said. 

Ottawa continues to remain a safe city, with one of the lowest homicide rates in the country, says Roebuck.

“They’re lower than the Canadian standard; they’re lower than any other large city in Canada, with the exception of Montreal.” 

The data the centre finds help governments and non-profit organizations, such as the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC).

Aline Vlasceanu is Executive Director of the CRCVC and tells CTV News Ottawa the importance of research.

“I hope that this sort of research really sheds a light on the reality of victims, on their needs, and the gaps that exist so that, moving forward, while there is no one size fits all solution, we can start bridging those gaps tangibly and legitimately, ” she says. “The research and evidence is there now. We must move forward and do something. I think victims of homicide—all victims, in general, really—should be empowered; all research and all resources should be victim-centred, victim-led and trauma informed, in order to help them create that 'new normal'.”