Win For Disabled Sexual Assault VictimsFebruary 10, 2012 2 Comments
Today there was a win for people with disabilities when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a disabled victim of alleged sexual assault will get a second trial.
The woman’s original testimony, about alleged assault when she was 19 from her step-father in 2004, was dismissed because she couldn’t describe what an oath was and she has the mental capacity of a three-year-old.
However, the woman was able to describe what the man did to her by demonstrating to police where she was touched and how.
Clearly, today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is the correct one.
- “Adults with mental disabilities may have a practical understanding of the difference between the truth and a lie and know they should tell the truth without being able to explain what telling the truth means in abstract terms.”
There will now be another trial using the woman’s testimony.
This is a great step forward for the rights of people with disabilities, and is especially important considering people with disabilities are abused at a much higher rate than the general public. This is generally because abusers assume they won’t know how to protect themselves, how to report it, or how to describe what happened to police. In fact, up to 83 percent of women with disabilities will be abused in their lifetime!
This has to stop and today’s ruling will go a long way in helping those who have suffered.
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