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
- Toll-free, 24/7 phone service: 1-800-563-0808
- Website: www.victimlinkbc.ca
- Email: VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca
- Text messaging: 604-836-6381
- TTY for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing: 604-875-0885 (to call collect, use Telus Relay Service at 711)
Confidential, multilingual telephone service available across BC and Yukon. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. VictimLinkBC provides immediate crisis support to victims/survivors of any crime, as well as information and referral services.
WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre
- Lower Mainland 24/7 Crisis Line: 604-255-6344
- Toll-free 24/7 Crisis Line available across Canada: 1-877-392-7583
- Website: www.wavaw.ca
Services and referrals for people of marginalized genders (women, Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and more) aged 14+ who have who have experienced any form of sexualized violence. WAVAW has services specifically for Indigenous people. Toll-free crisis line available 24/7.
Our Educational Materials
Here’s a selection of the educational materials that West Coast LEAF has developed on consent and sexual assault. They contain legal information, not legal advice:
We have a toolkit for complainant counsel in sexual assault cases.
We have infographics:
- Legal definitions of consent and sexual assault
- Age of consent
- Non-legal and legal options for adults who have experienced sexual assault
If you’d like to learn more about sexual assault, consent, and the law, we also have two FAQs:
Our Unfinished Story of Yes video tells the story of legal changes to the law regarding consent and sexual assault, and the challenges 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.
We also have a transcript of the video including visual description.
Other Educational Resources
These links explain consent from a non-legal perspective:
- Planned Parenthood makes it easy to remember some key points about consent with FRIES!
- Learn about common misconceptions and myths about sexual assault in this video from Simon Fraser University.
- Teaching Sexual Health has a great primer for parents who want to talk about consent with children.
- Consent isn’t just about sexual encounters – we can practice consent in many areas of our lives. Check out this video about consent by Campus Clarity that uses the example of borrowing someone’s phone.
- Learn more about consent in non-sexual situations with this article from Everyday Feminism.
West Coast LEAF typically offers workshops about consent, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, with a legal focus and a social justice lens. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery of workshops relating to sexualized violence have been suspended due to concerns for the safety and well-being of people who may be accessing learning materials from home, which may be an unsafe environment. Zoom workshops on other legal topics are available. Please contact Cecile at youth [at] westcoastleaf.org with any questions.
Those wishing to learn more about consent during this time are welcome to check out the educational materials listed above.
However, we ask that instructors do the following:
- Clearly explain to learners the subject matter of the materials so they can freely choose whether or not to engage with them.
- Emphasize that it is not mandatory to look at or otherwise engage with the materials.
Anything less may result in harm, including physical and emotional danger, to learners. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
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:
- R. v Kirkpatrick, a case about whether the Criminal Code recognizes that a person can consent to sex on the condition that their partner wears a condom
- R. v J.J. and A.S. v Her Majesty the Queen et al., two linked cases about the constitutionality of rules of evidence in sexual assault cases that aim to protect the dignity, equality, and privacy of survivors
- 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
- 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
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 June 2019 letter urging BC to invest in a rights-based framework for survivors of sexual assault.
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.