You can address one or more of the following topics in your five-page brief.
- The victims of sexual assault or domestic violence face a number of barriers that reduce their access to justice. In your view, what measures are need to improve access to justice for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence?
- A range of services exists for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. Can these services be made more coherent and connected? Do you believe the services should be more integrated and, if so, in what way?
- Victims of sexual assault or domestic violence often feel overwhelmed by the criminal justice system and are not aware of the civil recourses open to them.
- What changes would you suggest to highlight, publicize or improve the existing services?
- Could the criminal justice process be improved to respond more effectively to victims’ needs?
- Could civil recourses (proceedings for damages, complaint filed with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ), complaint filed with an employer or educational institution, complaint filed with a professional order, etc.) be better adapted to the realities victims face?
- As the law currently stands, alternative justice and reparatory justice processes cannot be selected as a legal option by a victim. Are you for, or against, these processes and, if so, why? Do you have any suggestions to make?
- Victims of sexual assault or domestic violence may have to deal with several court authorities at the same time. For example, they may have to testify against their aggressor in a criminal court case, while at the same time applying for custody of their children in a civil case. Given this situation, what kinds of links are needed between criminal and civil cases, for example in connection with child and youth protection?
- Do you believe that a specialized court could respond more effectively to victims’ needs in sexual assault or domestic violence cases?
- The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights sets out the rights recognized in the criminal justice system: the rights to information, protection, participation and restitution. Victims can file a complaint if they believe their rights have been infringed. Do you know which organizations a victim must contact to file a complaint? What are the difficulties facing victims who want to file a complaint to uphold their rights under the Bill of Rights? What improvements could be made to the procedures and support for victims who want to file a complaint?
- This question applies in particular to First Nations and Inuit organizations, and organizations providing services in Québec that work closely with the First Nations and Inuits. Many historical and systemic factors have led to the emergence of sexual assault and domestic violence problems in First Nations and Inuit communities. These specific features require special attention and several targeted actions have been implemented by and for Indigenous people, working with various government authorities. The mandate of the Committee covers support and the court process for all victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. Have you observed any specific actions and needs in connection with support and the court process for First Nations and Inuit victims, inside and outside their communities?
- In your view, what is the most important measure needed to improve support for the victims of sexual assault or domestic violence, in particular within the court system?