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Complainants in civil cases don’t necessarily need to file police complaints or have a rape kit done.
Unlike in criminal court, the accused cannot remain silent: Both the victim and the accused must take the stand and be cross-examined.
The other key difference is that the standard of proof in civil cases is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as it is in criminal cases, but proof on the balance of probabilities: What is the most likely scenario?
Provincially funded, these boards compensate victims of crime financially, not just for what they experienced during their assaults, but also for long-term counselling.
“This can help you heal in practical ways, which the criminal justice system unfortunately often doesn’t,” Mattoo said.
Many want different outcomes under a banner of validation: societal recognition that what happened to them was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anyone else.
The Globe spoke with experts about alternative routes for survivors seeking justice outside the criminal justice system.
An informal resolution method that originated in some indigenous communities, restorative justice brings together the victim, the accused or anyone else who was affected, often alongside a facilitator.
Victims may choose to speak about how they felt during the sexual assault, what impact the attack had long term and what outcome they would like to see.
She helps those who have been assaulted on campus file complaints with investigative bodies at educational institutions and assists others with complaints directed at regulated health professional systems, such as physicians’ colleges. 31, 2016, 120 people (94 female and 26 male) have accessed the pilot program, which will run until March, 2018, and, if successful, may be expanded to other provinces.
“One of the things that this program is highlighting is a need for way more than just legal advice,” Mercer said.
While the lawyers won’t represent victims in court, the hope is that the legal advice will help them understand the scrutiny they will face in court and let them make informed decisions about what route is best for them.“When we’re giving advice, it’s really important to see where the client wants to go with it: What’s her goal?