Ontario launches program offering free legal advice for sexual assault survivors

The pilot program will provide confidential advice from a lawyer. (Photo: REUTERS/Jon Blacker)
The pilot program will provide confidential advice from a lawyer. (Photo: REUTERS/Jon Blacker)

Sexual assault survivors in Ontario are getting a helping hand from the province with the announcement today that they may be eligible to receive free legal advice. The pilot program, scheduled to run until March 2018, will provide confidential advice from a lawyer.

The program is open to male and female survivors living in Toronto, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay who are at least 16 years old.

Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s Attorney General said of the new program: "Sexual assault survivors need to know they have choices and they have power. Providing them with information on support services that are available is only one piece. Offering them free legal advice is key to helping them make decisions about what is best for them as they move forward."

A caveat of the program is that the assault must have occurred in Ontario. If that is the case, eligible survivors can apply by filling out a request form. Additionally, women living in Toronto can access the program directly at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.

According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, one in three women and one in six men experience some form of sexual assault in their lives.

Survivors living in the pilot areas can get more information about the program by calling 1-855-226-3904.
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