QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Laurie Scott’s Private Member’s Bill 120, the Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Training for Judicial Officers, received the support of all parties in the Legislature at second reading.
Bill 120 calls in particular for mandatory sexual assault training for currently sitting judges and justices of the peace.
“I am happy that despite their long-standing opposition, the Liberal government finally decided to vote in support of mandatory training for our judicial officers,” Scott said. “With so many recent stories of judges making insensitive comments while presiding over sexual assault cases, there is a clear and urgent need for this training for sitting judges,” Scott added.
“Requiring that all judges are properly trained to handle sexual assault cases will actually go a long way towards strengthening Ontarians’ trust in our judicial system. The Liberal government must now bring this Bill to committee, and back to the Legislature for a final vote so it can become law. Survivors of sexual assault are watching closely,” Scott concluded.
On the need for Bill 120, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario noted that since the currently available training “won’t be mandatory for current provincial judges, victims of sexual assault appearing before the provincial court still run the risk of experiencing negative and damaging comments and rulings from the presiding justice.”
Dr. Jacqui Linder, a renowned Clinical Traumatologist - “As a trauma specialist and educator, I strongly support initiatives like Bill 120 designed to increase understanding of the complex dynamics underpinning sexual assault, human trafficking and sexual violence in general”