This case concerned the availability of compensation to survivors of intimate-partner violence.
LEAF intervened before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.
A.L.’s spouse assaulted her and was later convicted of assault. A.L. applied to the Crimes Compensation Board for damages flowing from the assault. The Board awarded her some damages, but reduced the total amount because it found the injuries were “reasonably foreseeable” in the circumstances. The Board felt A.L. had contributed to her own injuries by staying with her spouse, who had been abusive in the past, and by putting his clothes in a suitcase after he threatened to leave her.
A.L. applied for judicial review of the Board’s decision before the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, arguing that the Board had breached her rights under s. 15 of the Charter. The Court did not agree with A.L. A.L. appealed the decision to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.
LEAF argued that the Court had the power to assess whether the Board acted consistently with the Charter. Denying A.L. full compensation because she did not leave her spouse overlooked the many complex reasons behind why women do not leave abusive relationships. The Board’s decision and reasons were embedded in the larger context of violence against women, and reflected damaging myths and stereotypes that victims of intimate-partner violence choose, provoke, and deserve to be beaten.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal held that the Board’s decision was reasonable, and that reducing the damages awarded because the injuries were “reasonably foreseeable” did not violate A.L.’s s. 15 rights.
LEAF is grateful to Francine Chad Smith, counsel in this case.
Download the factum here.
Read the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s decision here.
Our records are imperfect, but we are doing our best to update them – if you were involved with LEAF on this case but your name is not reflected here, please email us at [email protected].