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Issue 39.2

Nancy Wright Editor

Section Editor (Sexual Assault): Dr. Natalie Snow

Innovative Work Bees: The Benefits of Inter-Organizational Collaboration

Through its resources, programs, and services, Canadian Families and Corrections Network (CFCN) focuses on strengthening individuals and families impacted by crime. One project, the making and distributing of letter-writing kits to those incarcerated in our federal prisons, has grown steadily to the point of needing creative approaches to meet demand. An idea for collaborative (inter-organizational) Work Bees brought together four prison-focused non-profit groups and resulted in much more than just letter-writing kits.

Winnipeg’s new Community Safety Team
Winnipeg’s Community Transit Safety Team Lead

Homelessness, mental health challenges, overdoses, and drug-related violence spell despair for Winnipeg’s Transit system and clients, especially during winter months. As lead of Winnipeg’s new community safety team, recently retired Winnipeg staff sergeant and author Dr. Bob Chrismas explores how Manitoba’s transition to a layered public safety model (Police Services Act, 2020) supporting community safety teams will foster community ownership of these issues and save valuable police and paramedic resources for serious criminal matters. Community safety officers are specially trained to provide trauma-informed, compassionate interventions, connecting people with needed resources. A permanent sharing circle in the office ensures collaboration with police and a wide range of government and non-government supports to facilitate diversion away from emergency services when possible.

A Call for Mandatory Human trafficking Reporting for Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Status in Canada

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) play a crucial role in Canada’s labour market, contributing to various industries and sectors. However, they often face vulnerabilities that expose them to exploitation and abuse in the workplace stemming from a complex interplay of factors, including their temporary immigration status, limited access to legal protections, language barriers, and dependence on their employers for work permits. These factors create power imbalances that can be exploited by unscrupulous employers, leading to situations of wage theft, unsafe working conditions, long hours without adequate compensation, and other forms of exploitation. Moreover, despite existing legal frameworks and advocacy groups’ efforts, labour exploitation among TFWs persists, highlighting the need for more robust mechanisms to address these issues. Mandatory reporting, which requires employers to report any instances of labour exploitation or abuse, emerges as a potential solution to enhance protection for TFWs.

Sentencing, Time Served, and Monetary Value for Fine-Related Crimes

This article analyses the legal practices surrounding fine-option programs and provincial remission credits in Alberta and calls for a more universal and restorative approach. Imprisoning individuals who break the law has many goals. It shows society’s abhorrence for certain antisocial behaviours and removes individuals from the community for a period of time, although high recidivism rates cast doubt on this system. Alberta has the highest number of prisoners in remand (70%) in Canada (2019). Unlike other sentences, individuals facing fines are not eligible for full remission credits for their time spent in prison. Applying a fine-option program, which is not uniformly available at all relevant facilities, and the provincial remand credit to prison time could address some of the financial and social costs associated with high incarceration and recidivism rates to meet the goal of public safety and a more resilient Alberta

The Psychopharmacological Haze: Vilification or Decriminalization

Drug addiction and drug-related crimes are sweeping across nations, making it more pressing than ever to understand the social drivers pushing individuals doing a dangerous dance with drugs to the margins of society. Societal perceptions, sentencing measures and inadequate support systems all figure in this vicious cycle. Drug court is a transformative approach to crime and addiction, but adoption is threatened by problems related to funding and implementation failures. This article takes a brief look at addiction and the larger societal ramifications within a framework of drug-dependent crime in Canada and England and Wales.


Sexual Violence and the Criminal Justice System: Victims Deserve Better

Police-reported sexual violence has not only been steadily increasing in recent decades – it is also the only violent crime in Canada not declining. Sexual assault is also severely underreported for a variety of systemic reasons both within Canadian society and the criminal justice system. In this lead article, Guest Section Editor Dr. Natalie Snow, along with two co-authors, reports on various aspects of a vicious cycle of stigma and myth that keep sexual assault on the rise and underreported – from the need for a better understanding of sexual violence in the drug-using population, the impacts of court publication bans for survivors, the importance of including the voices of lived experience (by Mia Hershokowitz) in studies, the ‘old’ rape myths in society, the persistence of victim blaming by police/courts and the rape culture in post-secondary institutions (Brook Madigan), to the sensitive issue of how publication bans threaten the open-court principle.

Unequal Access to Justice for Vulnerable Women Who Use Drugs: Sexual Victimization, Trauma and the Impact of Stigma

Far from having a strategy or plan to support vulnerable women in our society, Canada needs to work to ensure that community supports are available and accessible to vulnerable women, including those who have substance and drug use dependencies. Perhaps then the link between victimization, drug use disorder, and sexual violence will come into focus for the public. Sexual abuse, rape culture, double victimization (i.e., within the criminal justice system), and a lack of effective and accessible protection for vulnerable women continue to be prevalent issues in Canada. Mia is calling for a final shift away from blame-the-victim mentalities in Canada toward effective responses by our practitioners and educators to counter the stigma associated with sexual assault as experienced by the most vulnerable members of our communities. This will require the criminal justice system and communities to include the voices and stories of these victimized women in ways that ensure policy and law makers, police, courts, defense counsel, and the general public hear them loud and clear.

Sexual Violence within Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions
By BROOK MADIGAN (BA, Classe de 2024)

Sexual violence is one of the “most under-reported criminal offences in Canada” and is “an overlooked issue within post-secondary institutions”. (Tavcer & Dobkins, 2023). Victims of sexual violence are often revictimized by harmful beliefs and myths supported by the rape culture in society and particularly on school campuses. Rape culture attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, values, myths, and behaviours contribute to the minimization of sexual assaults, and the unjust blaming of victims (Tavcer & Dobkins, 2023) invites narratives of victim blaming and creates an unsafe environment for victims to disclose sexual violence. Sexual violence is prevalent at Canadian post-secondary campuses, fortified by the rape culture, and existing policies and procedures are outdated. Meanwhile, the lack of legislation on sexual violence within post-secondary institutions, public data, and standardized reporting mechanisms across institutions and provinces (PACSW, 2023) make combatting the problem and associated rape culture even more difficult.

Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the Association’s views, but are included to encourage reflection and action on the criminal justice system throughout Canada.

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