News / Halifax

Sex assault victims in Nova Scotia can now access free legal advice

A three-year federal-provincial pilot project will provide up to four hours of independent legal advice to victims and survivors of sexual assault.

Victims of sexual assault in Nova Scotia will now be able to access up to four hours of free legal advice.

On Friday morning, the federal government announced $810,000 in funding for the three-year pilot project.

In a media release, the provincial department of justice said those funds will be combined with “on-the-ground support” from the province through the federal-provincial pilot project.

"We know most sexual assault cases do not get reported. This pilot program will provide victims with the advice they need to make informed decisions about how they want to move forward," Nova Scotia’s justice minister Mark Furey said in the release.

The funding will also help with the creation of a court process guide for victims and survivors of sexual assault and will provide training specific to sexual violence for Crown attorneys.

The lawyers selected to participate in the three-year pilot program will be given extensive training.

Victims who are eligible for the program will be given a list of eligible lawyers and their profiles so they can choose the lawyer they want.

"We are excited that this service is in place as there is a major need for legal advice and support for survivors of sexualized violence going through the court process," Jackie Stevens, executive director of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax, said via the news release.

"This is an important first step in providing legal and systems based advocacy for survivors and we encourage the Nova Scotia government to continue to prioritize justice reform."

For more information on the project, visit: novascotia.ca/sexualassaultlegaladvice.

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