(December 5, 2018) – Free legal advice is being provided to survivors of sexual violence to help on their path to healing and support greater access to the justice system.
“For anyone who’s endured the trauma of a sexual assault, trying to figure out where to turn to for help can be scary and overwhelming,” stated Danielle Larivee, Alberta’s Minister of Status of Women.
“Helping survivors of sexual violence understand their legal options is an important step in empowering them to move forward on their healing journey. I’m grateful to the Elizabeth Fry Society and participating lawyers for their partnership in providing new legal resources to people who need those services the most.”
On December 5, 2018, the Government of Alberta provided a $700,000 grant to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton for the pilot initiative.
“For years, we have been hearing from survivors of sexual violence who have been sitting with their pain and suffering, not knowing what options are available to them or what they can do to move forward,’ remarked Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton Executive Director Toni Sinclair.
“This program is about providing legal advice from a rights-based approach, and we hope to help as many folks as possible who have experienced sexual violence. We continue to be amazed by their courage and bravery.”
As part of their involvement in this project, participating lawyers have received specialized training in trauma-informed practice, gender-based and intersectional approaches, and Indigenous historical trauma. The project offers support, resources and referrals to help sexual violence survivors better understand their options as they seek healing and justice.
The three-year pilot program is being rolled out in municipalities served by the Elizabeth Fry Society, including Edmonton, Red Deer, Stony Plain, Morinville, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Ponoka, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, and a number of Indigenous communities.
The project is open to adult survivors of all genders who have experienced sexual violence in Alberta, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.
Survivors of sexual violence wishing to learn more about the program can email [email protected] or call 780-784-2213.