Projects to provide access to justice for women facing precarious employment and criminal charges
The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic has launched two initiatives that seek to serve survivors of sexual violence and other gender-based violence.
According to the clinic’s newsletter, the first initiative is the #AndMeToo Project, which aims to improve access to justice for women who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment in their workplace.
The #AndMeToo Project provides women with access to summary legal advice, brief services and appropriate referrals to services in employment law, human rights, criminal law, immigration, income security and criminal injuries compensation.
Many of the women impacted live in “underserved communities,” and face “multiple forms of discrimination,” said the clinic. For example, women facing sexual assault or sexual harassment in their workplace may be “precariously employed:” being paid in cash, workers with employer-specific work permits, working for a temporary agency, working seasonally or casually, working on a term or contract, self-employed or independent contracting, working multiple jobs, working part-time, working for low wages, working as a student or a volunteer and being unemployed.
Meanwhile, the second initiative is the Criminalization of Women Project, which provides access to justice for women who have been charged or convicted with one or more criminal offences. According to the clinic, a disproportionate number of women who were reporting violence against them, found themselves facing criminal charges, and the project seeks to “reverse” that trend.
The Criminalization of Women pro bono program, funded by The Law Foundation of Ontario, provides women with access to summary legal advice, brief services and appropriate referrals to services for their criminal matters. According to the clinic, program participants with more complex criminal law needs are able to access a community of participating criminal defense lawyers for pro bono summary legal advice delivered through a “feminist, anti-oppressive lens and with a trauma-informed approach.”