Educating about Canadian laws
Deliver accessible education about Canadian sexual assault laws, including how they work, and the ways they tend to fail survivors in practice.
Students who participated in our focus groups pointed out that, in addition to being unfamiliar with understandings of sexual violence and sexual consent that are advanced in their university SA/SV policies, international students may be unaware of federal legislation regarding sexual assault. This was perceived by students as an important gap to fill. Information about the CJS should also include statistics and/or narrative description that serve to manage student expectations for how the Canadian Criminal Justice System handles reports of sexual assault. Familiarity with what the law says in the absence of information about how the law works may create overly optimistic views about what happens in Canada when victims/survivors turn to the police.
Delving Deeper Resources
Information about Canadian sexual assault laws is included in Part 9 of this Sexual Assault Support Worker Handbook.
- According to its homepage, "This training is designed to help you learn more about sexual violence and how to support someone who has survived it. It is for service providers, friends, family members, neighbours, teachers, first responders, counselors, and anyone who is acting as a support person, or is concerned about sexual violence." Information about Canadian sexual assault laws is included in Module 1: Sexual Violence: An Introduction.
- This FAQ from Victim Services answers 16 questions, including: "Will the accused be arrested? Can charges laid by police be dropped or changed? What is meant by 'guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? What is 'presumption of innocence'? Can the media publish the identity of victims and witnesses? What happens during the trial?"
- This program provides "up to 4 hours of free legal advice if you have been sexually assaulted and are 16 years old or older. You do not have to report to police or go to court if you use this service. They can help in English or French, or use a free interpreter for other languages."
- At this webpage, Legal Info Nova Scotia provides answers to frequently asked questions relating to family violence and sexual violence. Questions include "Can the police charge my partner with sexual assault? Will the police take my partner from our home? What is a Cyber-protection order? What happens with my children?" This resource also includes contact information for resources relevent to the broad community, as well as specific population such as immigrants and refugees (Halifax Refugee Clinic), low income people (e.g., Dalhousie Legal Aid Service), Mi'kmaq people (Mi'kmaq Legal Support Network), and people with disabilities (reachAbility).