No sexual assault survivor should ever feel afraid to come forward with her or his case and seek justice from the legal system.
Right now, in the federal judicial system, there is a lack of transparency in how, and how often, judges are receiving training and education about how to preside over legal cases involving sexual violence.
Many Canadians may not realize that, should they ever find themselves involved in such terrible proceedings, there is no requirement that the presiding judge have specific training or experience in sexual assault law.
This has to change.
The Just Act will help rebuild trust in Canada’s judicial system when it comes to addressing sexual assault law.
The Just Act will:
- Require any lawyer applying for a position in the Canadian judiciary to have first completed sexual assault case training and education.
- Require the Canadian judiciary to produce an annual report that details how many judges have completed sexual assault training, how many cases were heard by judges who have not completed the training, as well as a description of the courses that have been
- Require a greater number of written decisions from judges presiding over sexual assault trials, ensuring the cases receive adequate consideration.
Given the unique tendency of these cases to expose personal and private information of those involved – which only adds to the trauma of the original alleged crime – Canada’s judicial system must take extra care to ensure the proper application of the law in the first place.
This is about making our legal system fairer for everyone involved in these terrible cases.
We can take meaningful steps towards that goal by: ensuring new judges bring with them the training and education required to handle these matters with the sensitivity they require; making Canada’s judiciary more accountable for keeping judges up to date in this training; and by requiring more written decisions, to ensure the time, reasoning, and consideration required for the decision is respectful of the sexual assault survivor.
With these small changes, together, we can make sure all Canadians – and in particular sexual assault survivors – have trust in our justice system.