Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott has tabled another private member’s bill one calling for mandatory sexual assault training for judges.
Scott tabled the Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Training for Judicial Officers Act in Queen’s Park April 5.
“Sexual assault is devastating to victims and their families and this bill is making sure judges have better training” Scott said in a release. “This is one step forward to strengthening Ontarians’ trust in our judicial system.”
A couple of Canadian judges have made headlines recently for their questionable conduct.
In March a Calgary judge who’s become known as the “knees together” judge after he asked a sexual assault complainant why she couldn’t keep her knees together resigned from the bench following a Canadian Judicial Council recommendation that he be removed from his position.
A judge in Halifax acquitted a taxi cab driver of sexual assault ruling that “a drunk can consent.”
Scott’s bill would require anyone being considered for appointment as a provincial judge in Ontario to undergo training in sexual assault law and that all judges receive training on sexual assault law as part of their continuing education plan.
In late 2014 Scott who is the PC party’s critic for women’s issues spearheaded the creation of an all-party standing committee on sexual violence and harassment on which she served as vice-chair.
An alarming finding in the committee’s final report which was released in 2015 was the frequency of human trafficking – typically of young girls and women for sexual purposes – occurring in Ontario.
Last year Scott tabled a private member’s bill called the Saving the Girl Next Door Act which among other protections for victims recommended giving them the option to sue their traffickers rather than having to go through the trauma of reliving their experience in a courtroom. It received second reading on Feb. 18 2016 but was never called to committee by the government the next step in turning a bill into a law.
However earlier this year the government passed legislation called the Anti-Human Trafficking Act which borrowed heavily from Scott’s bill and Scott was thanked for her work on the issue.
She continues to conduct talks throughout the province on the issue of human trafficking.