Access to Justice Project (Justice)

The Access to Justice Project (“Justice”) is a community-based research project that aims to document and understand how marginalized women and gender diverse survivors of experience gender-based violence (GBV) can access safe and responsive justice.

Findings from this project aim to generate new evidence to inform recommendations that address gaps in Canada’s access to responsive justice among diverse communities of women and gender-diverse survivors, including Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities, LGBTQ/2S, immigrant and refugee communities and criminalized communities (sex workers, people who use drugs). This project is particularly timely as the COVID-19 pandemic has seen increased risks of gender-based violence across communities and heightened gaps in access to responsive justice.

Research Objectives: Drawing on intersectional feminist participatory-action research, the overall goals of the mixed methods project are to:   

  1. Document the lived experience and community voices of GBV survivors to understand how differing identities of sexual assault survivors experience stigma or discrimination in access to justice, including deciding to report their experience to authorities;
  2. Understand how socio-structural factors facilitate or mitigate barriers to responsive justice systems across various settings and jurisdictions both within (e.g. family courts, drug courts, legal aid) and outside justice (e.g. housing, health care), including community-led and strength-based responses, and identify how those experiences vary across and within settings and jurisdictions; and
  3. Map innovative strategies and evidence-based actions for operationalizing promotion of responsive justice systems for GBV survivors.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Britanny Bingham & Dr. Kate Shannon

Research Team (Co-Investigators): Dr. Nora Angeles, Dr. Jill ChettiarDr. Kathleen Deering, Dr. Shira Goldenberg, Dr. Andrea Krüsi, Dr. Mei-ling Weidmeyer

Community Partners/AdvisoryATIRA Women’s Resource Society, Elizabeth Fry Society BC, First Nations Health Authority, Sanctuary Health, Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV), Sunshine Coast Community Services SocietyWAVAW Rape Crisis Centre, Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST), VCH Aboriginal Health, YWCA Vancouver

Funders: Federal Ministry of Women and Gender Equality (WAGE)