Compensation for Women Who Have Been Raped
Confronting Sexual Assault. A Decade of Social and Legal Change, Julian Roberts and Renate Mohr, eds., University of Toronto Press, 1994, pp. 205-240
Posted: 4 Jun 2013 Last revised: 28 Jun 2013
Date Written: 1994
In the last chapter, Teressa Nahanee concluded that lenient sentences imposed on men who are convicted of sexually assaulting Inuit women can no longer be tolerated. Implicit in this conclusion is her concern for a recognition on the part of judges that sexual assault is one of the most serious harms that any woman could ever suffer. The sentence imposed in a criminal court is an important symbolic recognition on the part of the state of the serious nature of the harm suffered by the individual victim. However, as earlier chapters in this book illustrated, the criminal trial and sentencing hearing is the exception rather than the rule in cases of sexual assault. As reporting statistics reveal, few sexual assault victims choose to initiate the criminal process. In this chapter, Elizabeth Sheehy describes two other routes of redress for women who are raped. Unlike the outcome of the criminal trial process where the focus is on the punishment of the offender rather than compensation for the victim, these two routes offer individual rape victims financial redress. For these women, tort and criminal injuries compensation offer the possibility of the recovery of financial losses and of some degree of recognition of the seriousness of the wrong that has been done. After describing the trends in the awards and the specific barriers to claims, the author addresses the challenging question of whether these forms of compensation can be conceptualized as progressive for all women.
Keywords: routes for redress, women who are raped, rape victims, financial redress, individual rape victims & financial redress, forms of compensation as progressive
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