Government of Canada

08/22/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/22/2018 15:20

New federal funding will improve women's access to Yukon’s legal system in cases of sexual assault

August 22, 2018 - Whitehorse, Yukon - Status of Women Canada

The Government of Canada is working hard to ensure that all Canadians have access to responsive legal and justice systems that ensure the safety of survivors, the protection of families, and strong, vibrant communities.

Today, the Honourable Larry Bagnell, Member of Parliament for Yukon, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, announced Government of Canada funding to help improve access to the legal system for women in Yukon.

The Yukon Status of Women Council is receiving $374,000 for the Yukon Advocate Case Review;a 36-month project focused on the problems women face when accessing Yukon's legal system, specifically where sexual assault charges are involved. The project will concentrate on finding causes for the low reporting rate of sexual assaults in Yukon and possible reasons for the high number of reported cases that do not result in charges. Through collaboration with partners and stakeholders, the Yukon Advocate Case Review project will review judicial decisions on sexual assault trials, evaluate sexual assault reports that do not result in charges and review Crown sexual assault case files that do not reach the trial stage.

Following national media attention in 2017 regarding the use of 'unfounded' by police to classify sexual assaults, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, called on police forces across Canada to review their approaches and procedures to ensure that the justice system is responsive to the needs of survivors. Statistics Canada and representatives of the policing community made recommendations to address data quality issues and standardization, and to reintroduce the data collection of unfounded criminal incidents, something Statistics Canada has recently done. As all police services adopt the new standards recommended by Statistics Canada through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, data should become increasingly more consistent and allow for a better understanding for why incidents may or may not be solved.

Quotes

'The Government of Canada is committed to preventing and addressing gender-based violence in all its forms. Helping Yukon women gain better access to the legal system in cases of sexual assault will help prevent such cases from going unreported. Our government, is working to ensure that our legal systems are delivering justice to survivors across Canada, and this funding will also help to identify the challenges associated with the low reporting and conviction rates for sexual assault cases in the territory.'

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.Minister of Status of Women

'Women and girls in Yukon need to feel that their local courts and justice system operate in a fair and unbiased manner. I am proud of the Government of Canada's commitment to advancing gender equality and pleased to collaborate with the Yukon Status of Women Councilon this path to equality and justice for all Canadians.'

The Honourable Larry Bagnell, P.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Yukon

'The Yukon Advocate Case Review project will provide valuable information to better inform and educate key community partners within the legal system as well as support women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence to navigate the system. We are thankful that the Government of Canada has provided support for our important work to address gender-based violence and make a real difference in the lives of Yukoners.'

Charlotte Hrenchuk, Coordinator
Yukon Status of Women Council

Quick facts

  • Status of Women Canada works to address systemic barriers to the full participation of women in all aspects of Canadian life with a focus on three priorities: increasing women's economic security and prosperity; encouraging women in leadership and decision-making roles; and, ending violence against women and girls.

  • In June 2017, the Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, announced the first-ever federal strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. The Strategy is based on three pillars: prevention, support for survivors and their families, and promoting a responsive legal and justice systems.

  • The Government of Canada expanded the Strategy's scope and nearly doubled its total funding to nearly $200 million in Budget 2018. New investments will focus on preventing teen dating violence, enhancing and developing preventative bullying and cyberbullying initiatives, and equipping health professionals to provide appropriate care to victims, among other actions. Additionally, Budget 2018 will expand the RCMP sexual assault review and support training and awareness of officers, as well as establish a National Framework to Address Gender-based Violence in Post-Secondary Institutions.

Contacts

Justine Villeneuve
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Status of Women
819-420-7044

Nanci-Jean Waugh
Director General, Communications and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada
819-420-6810