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Improving Access to Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault 2020

  • RESET

Category:

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Sub-Category:

Sub-Category: GENERAL

Resolution Number:

700.10.36

Club:

Calgary

Province:

Alberta

Year:

2020

Status:

Open

Background:

BACKGROUND: Sexual assault is a gendered crime, with the majority of victims being women and girls. 83% of sexual assaults in Canada are not reported to the police. Fewer than half of all sexual assault cases that go to trial result in a guilty verdict. This type of gender-based violence is greatly influenced by sexism, racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, colonialism, and other forms of oppression. It is further exacerbated by social and economic power imbalances, gender inequalities and outdated societal gender roles and norms. Female survivors experience barriers in reporting sexual assault crimes which contributes to low of reporting rates. 2/3 of sexual assault survivors surveyed did not have confidence in the criminal justice system. Women and girls who face systemic and intersectional discrimination also experience additional and harmful barriers to accessing justice. A culture of victim blaming and shaming, stereotyping, and unfounded beliefs around false reporting of sexual violence exists within Canadian society. The Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials Working Group (CCSOWG) on Access to Justice for Adult Victims of Sexual Assault made 17 recommendations to improve access to justice. Training is a significant factor that appears many times in the report, as it applies to not only the judiciary but many other criminal justice system professionals at all levels of policing, government, and civil society.

Comments:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW Canada) urges the Government of Canada, specifically the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, to adopt the changes, including to the Criminal Code R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, detailed in the 2018 Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials Working Group (CCSOWG) report: Reporting, Investigating and Prosecuting Sexual Assaults Committed Against Adults – Challenges and Promising Practices in Enhancing Access to Justice for Victims;
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Canada urges the Government of Canada, specifically the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, to require and fund annual sexual assault education training nationwide for criminal justice system professionals including police, crown prosecutors and victim service providers, not to exclude those supporting the indigenous population. Training topics are to include: forms of oppression contributing to gender based violence, the role of power imbalances and outdated gender based roles in sexual assault including intimate partner violence, how discriminatory myths and stereotypes about survivors play into the misapplication of the law, sensitivity training including cultural understanding, the neurobiology of trauma in the context of sexual assault, trauma-informed and intersectional approaches for survivors of sexual violence, and the nature of permissible testimonial aids.

©BPW Canada  www.bpwcanada.com

Article ID: 13334