Changing Systems

WAVAW Launches Justice Project – Seeks Survivor Participation in Interviews

WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre is in the first year of a 3-year project that will support justice system personnel to learn from survivors in order to make changes, and create a system that works better for survivors.

As we look to create change in the justice system, we want to hear what survivors would like to see.

We know survivors respond to sexual violence differently, and have the right to choose their own path to healing and justice. For some, that path includes engaging with the Criminal Justice System. From reporting to police, to meeting with Crown counsel, to preparing to testify in Court, and beyond, we want to develop a better understanding of what is working and to hear directly from survivors about their unique visions for change.  

We know that survivors experience their interactions with the justice differently based on numerous factors including but not limited to intersections of identity, previous experience with systems, and impacts of rape myths and rape culture.

We are seeking survivor participation in one-on-one interviews over the next several months.

The questions and themes we will be exploring include:

  • What were the most impactful aspects of your experience with the justice system; positive or negative?
  • What worked well and what could have worked better?

We are inviting survivors to share their wisdom, expertise, and vision to guide us as we challenge and encourage the Justice System to change for the better.

Are you interested in taking part?  

Please fill out the form below, or call Dalya Israel at 604-255-6228 ext. 224.

Resignation of Justice Robin Camp

A watershed moment for women survivors of sexual assault

TORONTO, March 10, 2017 —The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre are relieved at the news of Justice Camp’s resignation as a member of the Federal Court of Canada.  As the Front Line Interveners in the disciplinary proceeding representing countless women survivors of sexual assault, we agree with the Canadian Judicial Council’s (CJC) comments that Justice Camp’s conduct was “manifestly and profoundly destructive” to the impartiality and integrity of the bench.

The Barbra Schlifer Clinic and WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre were among a small group of women’s organizations granted an exceptional request by the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) to intervene in the inquiry into the conduct of Justice Robin Camp.  Justice Camp, best known for his comment, “why couldn’t you just keep your legs together,” repeatedly exhibited sincere antipathy toward decades of progressive Canadian legislation in place to protect vulnerable witnesses, and revealed stereotypical assumptions about how someone, confronted with sexual assault, should behave.

As interveners, we were successful in having our concerns reflected in the Inquiry Committee Report regarding the recommendation to remove the Honorable Justice Camp from the bench. The final report of the Inquiry quoted directly from our submission that:

“The social significance of a judge, in the highest position of authority, relying on rape myths and being oppositional to four decades of law reform, should be of central concern to the Inquiry Committee.”

The final report of the CJC also concurred with us that when rape myths are relied on by a person with authority and power in our society, such as “judge who should occupy a ‘place apart’, the discriminatory impact is more pronounced and the normalizing effects of those discriminatory views in society are far-reaching.”

As part of the public inquiry, the Front Line Interveners represented the voices of those absent from the hearing room; namely the countless women who have experienced sexual assault and were let down by discrimination that the rape shield laws and other laws were intended to protect against.

We were particularly concerned with the interaction Judge Camp had with individuals who experience intersecting inequalities, such as race, religion, newcomer status and Indigeneity.

“Though work still needs to be done to ensure women survivors of sexual assault, who are brave enough to bring their case forward have their rights protected, this moment in history is a step in the right direction to begin to rebuild confidence in the justice system,” said Amanda Dale.

Although Justice Camp had apologized for his behaviour, his continued presence on the bench underscored the reasons sexual assault survivors do not trust the criminal justice system.

“A higher standard of accountability has now been set for judges. Women fully expect this standard to be upheld by the judicial system,” said Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, Executive Director of WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre.

Intervenor Submission WAVAW and BSCC

Challenges of Women’s Equality in the Courts



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