Impervious to Change? Sexual Assault Law Reform in Canada

Stream: Reform and Safety Issues for Women and Children
Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015
Time: 1.45 pm – 3.30 pm


Various legal principles — including foundational rules governing all criminal proceedings, laws on what acts constitute sexual offences, and evidentiary and procedural rules specific to sexual offences — work against the likelihood of securing a conviction in sexual violence cases. Are these principles, which foster partial and incomplete fact-finding, and rape mythologies (old and new), which perpetuate inequalities, impervious to change? I will consider how feminist-inspired law reforms (including consent, marital rape, corroboration, use of sexual history and personal records) have fared in Canadian courts in the three decades since Parliament started on sexual assault law reform.


Karen Busby (Presenter), Faculty of law, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg Canada
Karen Busby is a professor of law and the director of the center for human rights research at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg Canada. Her research focuses on laws related to sexual violence, sexuality, sexual orientation, wife abuse, prostitution, sexual representations and assisted human reproduction.