6 November 2023
Improving Access to Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault
As of last month, a new program is being offered by non-profit Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) and funded by the Federal Government. They will provide up to three hours of free legal advice to individuals who have experienced sexual assault. This program is open to all individuals regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, or income level. Individuals who are accessing advice are not required to have reported the assault to police.
This program is aimed at educating individuals who may be confused about if what they have experienced is sexual assault, and to assist individuals who have experienced an assault determine what legal options are available to them. The program provides free legal advice and educate survivors of sexual assault on both the criminal and civil process. This service endeavors to empower individuals to make the best decision on how to proceed based on their personal circumstances and goals.
It is well known that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported. The Criminal Code of Canada defines assault as the intentional application of force onto another person without their consent. This includes any non-consensual sexual touching or acts which infringe on a persons’ sexual integrity. Consent must be freely provided and be ongoing and can be revoked at any time.
This new program is a positive step in improving the public’s knowledge about sexual assault and provides increased access to justice and agency for survivors.
For more information on the programs offering, please visit the Community Legal Assistance Society’s page: https://clasbc.net/new-free-legal-service-provides-help-for-anyone-in-bc-who-has-experienced-sexual-assault/
With programs like this, as well as access to legal advice and representation, survivors of sexual assault will have more agency and control with regards to the legal system.
Meet the Author
Britni Troy is an Associate in the Personal Injury Group at Watson Goepel LLP. She practices in the area of personal injury law, advocating for injured people and helping them obtain fair compensation. Britni has experience with all manners of dispute resolution including settlement negotiations, mediations and trials.