St. John’s, N.L. — Survivors of sexual violence in this province seeking legal advice can now get it — free of charge.
The provincial government, in collaboration with the Public Legal Information Association of NL (PLIAN) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre (NLSACPC), have launched a program offering legal support to those who have experienced sexual violence.
Trained staff will assess and work with the individual’s needs and experiences and can provide supportive referrals to a trauma-informed lawyer.
As part of this program, PLIAN and NLSACPC have recruited 21 lawyers throughout the province to provide legal advice to survivors referred by this program. According a news release announcing the program today, lawyers have completed training on working with survivors through a trauma-informed lens, and have been assessed and screened by PLIAN and NLSACPC.
The federal government has provided funding to the Department of Justice and Public Safety for three years to support this program.
“Our government is working to ensure that all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have access to justice. Today marks an important step forward in that process,” said Justice Minister Andrew Parsons, who commended the lawyers for offering their time.
“Our goal is to support anyone in this province who has gone through a traumatic experience of sexual violence and now may be feeling lost and unsure about their legal rights and options.
Siobhan Coady, minister responsible for the Status of Women, said, “Violence against women is unacceptable. Significant work is ongoing within government to address violence prevention. Collaboration with community organizations, as seen with this program, will help us as we work to end all forms of violence.”
PLIAN executive director Kevin O’Shea said the program hopes to remove some of the barriers accessing the legal system by giving survivors the advice, information and support to better understand their options.
Wendolyn Schlamp, chairperson of the NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, said survivors have been asking for such a program for many years and they’re glad “this need is being realized.”
For more information about the program, call 1-833-722-2805 (toll free) or 709-722-2805, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.