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Ontario starts project offering free legal advice to sexual assault victims

Protesters marched on Commercial Drive in Vancouver on March 27, 2016 afternoon to voice their outrage over the verdict in the Jian Ghomeshi trial. Global News

TORONTO — Ontario has launched a pilot program to offer free legal advice to survivors of sexual assault.

Starting on Tuesday, people in Toronto, Ottawa and Thunder Bay who were sexually assaulted in the province can access up to four hours of free, confidential advice from a lawyer – over the phone or in person.

The free legal services will be available to both women and men who are at least 16 years old, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.

READ MORE: Why don’t women report rape? Because most get no justice when they do

The pilot project is expected to run until March 2018.

The lawyers involved in the free advice program will not provide legal representation or speak for the client in court, but they may advise sexual assault survivors to speak to a lawyer who can represent them.

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The government says one in three women and one in six men experience some form of sexual assault in their lives.

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