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Saskatchewan launches pilot program that offers free services to sexual violence victims

The Listen Project, a program from the government of Saskatchewan for survivors of sexual violence, is now open to the public.
The Listen Project, a program from the government of Saskatchewan for survivors of sexual violence, is now open to the public.

The Listen Project, a program from the government of Saskatchewan for survivors of sexual violence, is now open to the public.

The program provides legal advice to those who have survived sexual violence and is hosted by the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA).

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“We acknowledge that Saskatchewan has unfortunately high rates of sexual victimization and recognize sexual violence survivors often need help in responding to and overcoming such violence,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said. “The government stands with these survivors, and this program is a testament to our ongoing commitment to address the problem of sexual violence in Saskatchewan.”

Under the program, clients can receive a referral for up to two hours of free legal information and advice. Where needed, an additional two hours of free legal assistance may be approved.

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“The Listen Project is designed to help survivors overcome some of the barriers in accessing the justice system by helping them understand their legal rights and options,” PLEA Executive Director Joel Janow said. “PLEA is very excited to be part of this important project and looks forward to helping survivors of sexual violence find their voice.”

As a pilot project, the program has been provided with enough funding to run until March 2021 by the Department of Justice Canada, through the Federal Justice Victims Fund.

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“Sexual assault can have devastating and traumatic impacts on victims and survivors, yet is one of the most underreported crimes in Canada,” Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould said.  “Our government is committed to breaking down the barriers that may discourage reporting, and to ensuring that we have the tools in place to support those who do come forward.  I am very pleased that the Government of Canada is able to help fund this important initiative.”

The Listen Project handles cases that involve sexual assault, sexual harassment in the workplace and historical sexual abuse.

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The program is free and has no age restrictions. There are no limitations on how much time has passed since an incident of sexual violence, the only standing limitation being that the incident must have occurred in Saskatchewan.

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Incidents of sexual violence do not need to be reported to the police in order for clients to be eligible for the program.

Survivors of sexual violence can contact the program online (https://listen.plea.org/), or by phone toll-free at 1-855-258-9415.

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