Canadian Court System Classified as Unsympathetic to Rape Victims
A study lead by Professor Edward Renner of Carleton University found that the excessive use of rape myths in Canadian courtrooms has made justice difficult to achieve for women and children sexual assault survivors.
Based on findings derived from five years of court transcripts and cases, Renner has pinpointed common prejudices against the victim as the major cause for light sentencing of sexual assault perpetrators in Canada. Researchers also found that the credibility of children was destroyed by prosecutors who frequently asked questions that the children were not mature enough to understand.
Renner and his team found that only 13% of those convicted of sexually assaulting a child and 30% of those convicted of sexually assaulting a woman received a jail sentence of two years or more. Two-thirds of convicted child sexual abusers received a sentence of one year or less. In contrast, 53% of convicted robbers in the study received a sentence of two years or more.
Brettel Dawson, chairwoman of the department of law at Carleton University, believes that laws are not the root of the problem, and that it is the attitudes of attorneys and judges that needs to change.
"Society doesn't want to accept that these things happen," stated Brenda Saxe, Clinical Director of the Centre for Treatment of Sexual Abuse and Childhood Trauma.
Renner and his team are trying to change that by using their data to start a national program with the assistance of advocacy groups. The program will focus on changing the attitudes of those who handle sexual assault cases in court.
Media Resources: The Canadian Press - September 18, 1998
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .