No one is ever to blame for being sexually assaulted. All survivors deserve compassion and support. Help us build a society that challenges victim-blaming and recognizes the need for consent at all times.
Resources for Support
If you live in BC or Yukon and want to get connected with support in your community, call VictimLinkBC toll-free at 1-800-563-0808. This confidential service is available at all times and in many languages.
If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, contact VictimLinkBC by text at 604-836-6381 or by TTY at 604-875-0885 (to call collect, please call the Telus Relay Service at 711).
At any time of day or night, you can also call the WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre crisis line at 1-877-392-7583. WAVAW provides support services for survivors of sexualized violence who are of marginalized genders: cis and trans women, and Two-Spirit, trans, and/or non-binary people. WAVAW is located in Vancouver but its toll-free crisis line is available across Canada.
Our video titled The Unfinished Story of Yes is part of our Only Yes Means Yes project. It explains how activism has shaped Canada’s laws about sexual assault over the years – and the deep problems that remain.
Huge thanks to the student advisors and community advisors whose vision shaped the video, and to our talented animator, Ira Hardy.
Thanks also to our generous project funders: the Law Foundation of BC, the Health Sciences Association of BC, the Province of BC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Impacts.
West Coast LEAF offers workshops about consent, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, with a legal focus and a social justice lens. All workshops can be adapted to meet the needs of your group. While we usually request a $100 honorarium per workshop, we offer a sliding scale and can often waive the fee if cost is a barrier. If you are outside of Metro Vancouver, we may be able to facilitate a workshop in your community if you can cover our travel expenses. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 604-684-8772 to inquire.
- No Means No was designed for youth in grades 5 to 10. It introduces the topics of consent and sexual assault and includes discussion of power, gender, and stereotypes.
- TrendShift is geared towards youth in grades 8 to 12. It explores what the law says about online violence and harassment, including non-consensual sharing of intimate images.
- Youth in the Workplace was created for youth aged 15 and up. It explores employment rights in BC, including what the Human Rights Code says about sexual harassment on the job.
- Only Yes Means Yes was designed by and for post-secondary students but may be suitable for other groups. It critically unpacks the law of consent and sexual assault, contrasts legal and ethical understandings of consent, and explores legal and non-legal options for adults after sexual assault.
Our Ongoing Law Reform Work
Our law reform project Dismantling the Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault is a partnership with YWCA Metro Vancouver. Learn about how we are listening to survivors and collaborating with people who work in the criminal justice system to improve the way sexual assault is handled.
Read our 2018 report, We Are Here: Women’s Experiences of the Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault, based on the firsthand knowledge of survivors who generously shared their stories.
Read our June 2019 letter urging BC to invest in a rights-based framework for survivors of sexual assault.
Our Educational Resources
To learn about legal options, rights, and responsibilities when it comes to sexual assault and harassment, check out these resources:
- Is That Legal? is youth-oriented booklet about what the law says about online harassment and abuse. It was created with support from the Law Foundation of BC and Legal Services Society and is available in English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, and Punjabi.
- Roads to Safety is a legal handbook for older women fleeing violence, including sexual violence. It was developed in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Elder Law.
- As a companion piece to Roads to Safety, we also have multilingual wallet cards listing sources of support for older women fleeing violence.
- The following materials are handouts used in our Only Yes Means Yes workshop:
West Coast LEAF has a long history of speaking out in court to challenge myths about sexual assault and defend the rights of complainants. Recent cases include:
- The inquiry into the conduct of former judge Robin Camp, who came under fire for victim-blaming remarks he made during a sexual assault trial
- College of Massage Therapists of BC v Scott, a case about how and when the bodies that regulate health professions can take steps to protect public safety when a practitioner has been reported for sexual violence
- Maia Bent, et al. v Howard Platnick, et al., a case about the chilling effect of defamation suits on the free expression of survivors of gender-based violence