Survivors of sexual assault will have access to 11 more lawyers providing free, independent legal advice.
A federal-provincial pilot project gives assault survivors up to four hours of free legal advice. Eleven lawyers from across the province are being added, for a total of 19 lawyers providing advice.
“Survivors of sexual assault need support,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Mark Furey. “By expanding the program, we’re ensuring individuals have better access to the important advice they need, and from someone they feel comfortable working with.”
The expanded coverage also includes enhanced diversity, with lawyers from the Cantonese, LGBTQI+, Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities. The lawyers are from Sydney (2), Port Hawkesbury, Truro, Chester and Halifax (6). All have received specialized training.
Since the program launched in November 2017, 71 individuals have signed up to access the free legal advice.
211 Nova Scotia, operating independently from government, provides intake, information and administration of the certificates for the program and helps clients access these legal services.
Nova Scotia has been working on several initiatives to respond to the needs of survivors of sexual assault. They include:
— hiring two special prosecutors in the Public Prosecution Service who are dedicated to sexual assault cases
— conducting police audits to ensure police have the appropriate capability to investigate sexual assaults
— launching the domestic violence court in Halifax Regional Municipality
For more information on the program, visit http://www.novascotia.ca/sexualassaultlegaladvice .