Survivors of sexual assault in Nova Scotia will now have further access to legal advice.
The Nova Scotia government says 11 more lawyers will be available to provide free, independent legal advice to survivors.
The justice department says the federal-provincial project gives sexual assault survivors up to four hours of free legal advice.
The 11 lawyers are in addition to the eight already included in the program.
“Survivors of sexual assault need support,” said Justice Minister Mark Furey in a statement. “By expanding the program, we’re ensuring individuals have better access to the important advice they need, and from someone they feel comfortable working with.”
The province says since the program started in November, 71 people have signed up for legal advice.
Diversity in legal aid
The Department of Justice says it is also focusing on enhancing diversity among lawyers included in the program.
It states that lawyers from the Cantonese, LGBTQI+, Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities will be included.
The lawyers are also from across the province, with six in Halifax, two in Sydney, and one each in Port Hawkesbury, Truro and Chester.
The justice department says government has been working on several initiatives to respond to the needs of survivors, including hiring two special prosecutors in the Public Prosecution Service who are dedicated to sexual assault cases, conducting police audits to ensure police have the appropriate capability to investigate sexual assaults and launching the domestic violence court in Halifax Regional Municipality.