New Legal Aid Program Empowers Sexual Assault Survivors in British Columbia

A recent initiative in British Columbia is providing a vital lifeline to individuals who have experienced sexual assault. Launched by the not-for-profit Community Legal Assistance Society, the Stand Informed program offers a free and confidential legal service, irrespective of age, gender, income, or whether the assault has been reported to the authorities.

Jennifer Khor, the supervising lawyer and project manager, emphasized the urgent need to bridge the gap in supporting sexual assault survivors, particularly those who remain underserved and unaware of their legal options. With a focus on addressing the prevalent issue of underreported cases, Khor expressed her hope that the program will encourage more survivors to come forward and seek the assistance they deserve.

According to Khor, the initiative is geared towards providing comprehensive legal guidance, helping survivors comprehend their rights and enabling them to make informed decisions about their situation. Recognizing the various barriers that often prevent survivors from seeking help, the Stand Informed project aims to foster trust and provide a safe space for individuals to explore their legal avenues without fear or hesitation.

The inception of this three-year pilot program stemmed from the growing demand for support services following an influx of inquiries related to workplace harassment. Khor highlighted the lack of accessible legal advice services tailored to survivors, which led to the development of the Stand Informed initiative.

While the program has already begun assisting clients since its soft launch a few weeks ago, its success will ultimately be measured by the number of survivors it can reach and support. Khor emphasized the program’s commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that survivors of all ages, including minors, can seek guidance without the obligation to report their situation to the authorities.

Kelli Paddon, the parliamentary secretary for gender equity, expressed her support for the program, emphasizing the importance of providing accessible and timely support to survivors of gender-based violence. The initiative, she believes, will make a significant difference for women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals across British Columbia, offering a crucial lifeline during their time of need.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual and/or physical abuse and is searching for legal rights and remedies, Slater Vecchio LLP is here to help. Please contact us for a free, private, confidential meeting.

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James Richards
As a member of our class action practice group, I act for survivors harmed by institutional abuses in both class action and individual civil sexual assault claims. I believe that every harmed person deserves to be heard and advocated for.