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NCJ Number: 97497 Find in a Library
Title: Canada's New Sexual Assault Laws - A Step Forward for Women?
Journal: Contemporary Crises  Volume:9  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:33-44
Author(s): R Hinch
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This article analyzes reforms in Canada's rape law which have satisfied, altered, or ignored criticisms of the original law.
Abstract: Some critics had criticized the necessity of proving vaginal penetration in rape cases; with the reforms, charges can be pressed without demonstrating penetration. The reforms allow men to be prosecuted for sexually assaulting their wives and allow women to be accused of sexually assaulting men. Additionally, victims who fear for their safety are now guaranteed as much protection under the law as those who receive more overt threats. The controversial rule of 'recent complaint,' severely criticized for its assumption that a rape victim would hysterically run to the first person seen after the attack and report what had happened, has also been abrogated. Despite these changes which have accommodated criticism, many changes clearly alter or ignore critics' demands. For example, it is obvious that the abrogation of the need for corroboration and the similar elimination of the rule of recent complaint place a great deal of pressure on the victim. Thus, while two hurdles have been eliminated, their absence places extra pressure on the complainant to appear truthful. Additionally, the new legislation enshrines the infamous 'Papajohn decision,' which makes it possible to successfully defend an accused if he had an 'honest but mistaken belief' that the victim consented to the attack. Thus, analysis reveals important inconsistencies between what law makers claim to have presented via the new law, and what the new law actually says and does. Included are 17 notes and 26 references.
Index Term(s): Canada; Female victims; Foreign criminal justice systems; Law reform; Sexual assault
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