The objective of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres is to implement the legal social and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent and ultimately eradicate rape and sexual assault. In order to acquire the power necessary to bring about such changes, women must organize their collective strengths in the Anti-rape movement. Uniting through the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres will allow us to achieve more than as individuals and individual groups. The Canadian Association is itself the collective efforts of the individuals and groups involved. The Canadian Association in no way substitutes for the work of autonomous Sexual Assault Centres and actively encourages the growth and development of centres. Together we will provide a mechanism for communication, education and mobilization to alleviate the political and geographical isolation of centres in Canada.
We recognize that although sexual assault can and does happen to all people regardless of age or sex, women are the primary victims of sexual assault. As feminists, we believe sexual assault to be an act of domination, violence and aggression perpetrated through forced physical intimacy against a women’s will and without her consent. The Sexual assault is the exploitation of a women’s body and is a logical extension of a sexist society which promotes violence against women through a polarization of the sexes. Sexual assault is encouraged by the political and economic structure of a society which views women as objects, as submissive and unthinking and which is organized to render women powerless.
As feminists we recognize that violence against women is one of the strongest indicators of prevailing societal attitudes towards women. These attitudes include viewing women as property of men with little or no right to self determination. These attitudes stem from the historical unequal balance of power between men and women, and are reinforced by a society which equates masculine behaviour with aggression and female behaviour with passivity and physical weakness. It is in this way society conditions women to be victims of sexual assault, teaches them to rely on men for their protection and ensures their continuing dependence and powerlessness. Women who choose not to relate to men in traditional ways are regarded with contempt and fear. All women who do not fit the “approved” female stereotype suffer severe consequences, especially those who are seen as deviating the furthest, that is lesbians. We recognize that men learn to be perpetrators of sexual assault and violence against women and that change is possible on an individual and societal level.
In a society which maintains inequalities between its male members and its female members, coercive sexuality and violence against women are enforced. The intent of the Canadian Association is therefore, to act as a force for social change regarding rape and sexual assault at the individual, the institutional and the political level. We will also support and encourage efforts to create a society in which all members of that society have the rights of social, economic and political equality.
THE GOALS OF THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION ARE:
1.a) to work for the prevention and eradication of sexual assault;
b) to promote legal, social and attitudinal changes regarding sexual assault
c) to organize our collective strengths in the anti-sexual assault movement
d) to provide a mechanism for communication, education and mobilization to alleviate the political and geographical isolation of Sexual Assault Crisis Centres in Canada
e) to encourage, direct and generate research into sexual violence.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION ARE:
1. to work as a force for social change regarding sexual assault by:
a) determining policy on a national level on issues relevant to Sexual Assault Crisis Centres
b) educating and making recommendations on a national level on issues relevant to Sexual Assault Crisis Centres
c) public education on a national level
d) facilitating communication between Sexual Assault Crisis Centres.
ARTICLE 1 – CRITERIA FOR MEMBERSHIP
1.1 Member centres shall adhere to the policy, objectives and goals of the Canadian Association as stated.
1.2 Each centre shall do one or both of the following:
a) work for social change andprevention of sexual assault through education,
b) sexual assault crisis intervention
1.3 Member centres shall abide by the following code of ethics and principles:
a) to maintain confidentiality of services
b) to ensure client/victims right to support
c) to ensure client/victim’s right to self-determination
d) to ensure client/victims right to advocacy
e) to ensure client direct services shall remain free of charge
f) to work towards the eradication of myths that perpetrate rape and sexual assault.
ARTICLE Il – MEMBERSHIP
11.1. There shall be one category of membership.
11.2. Member organizations shall include all Sexual Assault Centres which are recognized as being inaccordance with the aforementioned criteria and which are ratified at the Annual General Meeting.
11.3. Sexual Assault Centres wishing membership in the Canadian Association shall apply to the Association through the regional representative in their region. The centre shall signify in writing to the Representative Committee their agreement with the philosophies, goals and policies of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres. The regional representative in conjunction with the local centre(s) who have helped in the formation and training of the new centre will make a recommendation for endorsement after ensuring that the proposed centre does conform to the philosophy, goals, and criteria necessary for membership as per preamble and Article 1.The Representative Committee shall review and make recommendations on all applications for membership. Sexual Assault Centres recommended by the Representative Committee for membership shall have all the privileges, rights and responsibilities of member centre of the Canadian Association. If endorsement is refused, the recommendation may be appealed as per procedure outlined in 3.1 of the constitution. Membership shall be ratified at the Annual General Meeting. Sexual Assault Centres accepted for membership shall receive immediate voice and vote at the Annual General Meeting.
11.4 Responsibilities of membership shall be:
a) to participate in the election, institution, supervision and evaluation of their regional representative;
b) to, maintain communication with regional representative;
c) to have representation at regional meetings; to take an active part in the regional Decision Making Process;
e) to inform the regional representatives of pertinent issues and concerns of centre members and sexual assault victims in their area;
f) to inform regional representative of changes in centre status and policies (ie. constitutional changes, new mailing address);
g) to provide support for and work towards the implementation of Canadian Association goals, and policies by;
i) ensuring that all members of member centres are familiar with the Canadian Association’s goals, objectives, policies, structures and resources,
ii) supporting Canadian Association actions in accordance with centre interests and priorities,
iii) utilizing the existing Canadian Association structures (name, regional representative, newsletters) and mechanisms as a resource for work within their communities in accordance with centre interests and priorities;
iv) supporting areas of Canadian Association policy which may or may not be centre’s priorities by informing their regional representative of issues and events in their communities concerning such policy areas.
h) to contribute whenever possible towards the expenses of their regional representative;
i) to send delegates to the Annual General Meeting whenever possible.
11.5 Member centres shall retain their own autonomy.
11.6 Member centres shall act in the name of the Canadian Association only in accordance with national policy.
ARTICLE 111 – TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
111.1 Membership in the Canadian Association may be terminated by.
a) written resignation to the Representative Committee through their regional representative;
b) the unanimous resolution of members of the Representative Committee to, suspend the membership of the member centre in question until the decision can be ratified at the Annual General Meeting:
i) regional representative contacts the centre in question to investigate the complaint,
ii) regional representative is responsible for initiating and carrying out the investigation of the complaint on a regional level,
iii) the Representative Committee is notified of the results of the investigation and makes a recommendation,
iv) if there is a recommendation to suspend membership, the Representative Committee must send a letter by registered mail asking the centre in question to submit a letter of resignation, or request for appeal within 60 days of the date of the letter. No response form the centre shall be considered a resignation,
v) if an appeal is requested, the Representative Committee shall review its recommendation within 60 days,
vi) if the appeal is dismissed, a motion to terminate the membership of the centre in question will be introduced at the Annual General Meeting.
111.2 Grounds for complaint against a member group are failure to adhere to the goals, objectives and criteria for membership and/or failure to fulfill responsibilities as members in the Canadian Association (as per 11.4).
111.3 A centre whose membership has been terminated at the Annual General Meeting may reapply for membership in the Canadian Association at a later date. The centre must assure the Canadian Association that it meets the membership criteria. The centre must also signify in writing their agreement with the philosophies, goals and policies of the Canadian Association and their intent to fulfill all responsibilities of membership.
MEETINGS Regions Representatives
ARTICLE IV – MEETING
lV.1 There shall be an Annual General Meeting which will be the governing body of the Canadian Association.
IV.2 There shall be at least 90 days written notice of the dates and location of the Annual General Meeting sent to, all member centres.
IV.3 The Annual General Meeting shall have one delegate form each member centre. Each delegate shall be entitled to, participate in the decision making process and shall have one vote.
IV.4 The presence of delegates form 2/3 of the member centres shall constitute a quorum so long as all regions less 1 are represented.
IV.5 Plenary decisions of the Annual General Meeting shall be made by 314 majority vote.
IV.6 The Annual General Meeting shall be rotated among regions whenever possible.
IV.7 The business of the Annual General Meeting shall be-
a) to ratify membership status
b) to receive reports of committees
c) to receive centre reports
d) to receive reports of regions
e) to receive financial statements of the Canadian Association
f) to discuss and vote on resolutions
g) to direct the Regional Representative Committee as to, its duties and priorities for the coming year
h) to direct the Regional Representative Committee as to the disbursement of and application for funds for the Canadian Association
i) to determine annual membership dues, if any
j) to determine the location of the next Annual General Meeting.
ARTICLE V – REGIONS
V.1 There shall be five regions within the Canadian Association
1) British Columbia, Yukon Territories
2) Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) & North West Territories
5) Atlantic Provinces (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland).
ARTICLE VI – REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE
VI.1 There shall be a Representative Committee to facilitate the operation of the Canadian Association and to act as a central liaison and information resource for all member groups of the Canadian Association.
VI.2 The Representative Committee will be composed of at least one representative form each region. Representative Committee meetings will be open to co- and alternate representatives. Decisions will be based on one voice per region.
VI.3 The duties of the Representative Committee shall be:
a) to promote the goals and objectives of the Canadian Association as determined at the Annual General Meeting
b) to prepare an annual budget and apply for funds for the Canadian Association as directed by member centres at Annual General Meeting
c) to implement national action programs as directed by member centres at Annual General Meeting and in accordance with the National Policy
d) to represent the Canadian Association to the public in accordance with national policy
e) to report to member centres on Representative Committee meetings
f) to hold Representative Committee meetings on a rotational basis by region whenever possible
g) to provide a written annual report to, the membership at the Annual General Meeting
h) to ensure that proper administrative procedures as defined at the Annual General Meeting are maintained for the Canadian Association
VI.4 The Representative Committee may delegate tasks as related to policy determined by the Annual General Meeting.
Vll.5 Additional duties of the Representative Committee shall be determined by member centres at the Annual General Meeting.
VIl.6 The representative Committee shall meet at least once per year, other than at the Annual General Meeting.
VI.7 The Representative Committee shall make decisions by consensus. In the event that the Representative Committee cannot reach a decision by consensus, the issue shall be taken to the Annual General Meeting for direction and/or decision.
VI.8 The Representative Committee may hire staff necessary to carry out tasks delegated to the Representative Committee by the Annual General Meeting. Priority for these positions will be given to, members of member Centres.
ARTICLE VII – REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES
VII.1 Each designated region shall elect at least one representative to the Representative Committee before or during the Annual General Meeting. The mechanism for choosing representatives Shall be determined by each region.
VII.2 Regions must also choose an alternate representative who meets criteria established for Regional representatives. In those areas where it is desired, the alternate representative can act in the capacity of the co-representative.
VII.3 Regional representative’s term of office shall be for a maximum of 13 months. The regional Representatives shall spend the 1st and last months of their term of office in the training and the transference of information. A representative may be reappointed for an additional term to a maximum of 2 successive terms of office.
Vl1.4 The criteria for electing a regional representative shall be:
a) the regional representative shall shave at least 6 months active experience at a Sexual Assault Centre,
b) the regional representative shall be actively involved in a member centre of the Association,
c) the regional representative shall have a working knowledge of both official languages, if possible,
d) the regional representative must be in agreement with the goals, objectives, policies and code of ethics of the Canadian Association,
e) the regional representative must make a written commitment to the region to a 13 month term, the first and last
months to take part in the training and transfer of information.
VII.5 The duties of the regional representatives and co-representatives shall be:
a) to represent the centres in their regions at the Representative Committee,
b) to report to their region on the activities of the Representative Committee,
c) to assume their portion of the tasks assigned to the Representative Committee at the Annual General Meeting,
d) to be accountable and responsible to their regions and to the Representative Committee for fulfilling the duties of Regional Representative,
e) to act as a resource person within their region on policies, structures and activities of the Canadian Association,
f) to communicate with centres within their regions,
g) to attend Regional meetings and Representative Committee meetings,
h) to attend the outgoing Annual General Meeting and the incoming Annual General Meeting, if possible,
i) to maintain contact and information exchange with the alternate co-representative,
j ) to maintain contact and information exchange with other members of the Representative Committee.
VII.6 The duties of the alternate representatives shall be:
a) to, communicate with the representative in order to be informed of ongoing work of the Regional representative and the Representative Committee,
b) to assist the regional representative in her ongoing work,
c) to take over the duties of the regional representative s required.
VII.7 A regional representative on the Representative Committee may be removed:
a) by resignation. 30 days notice of intention to resign must be given to the regional centres and the Representative Committee.
b) by the member centres of that region provided that these regional centres give the representative, the Representative Committee, and the alternate/co- representative 30 days written notice of their intention to recall the representative. From the reception of the notice to recall the alternate/co- representative shall assume the duties of the regional Representative until the region can elect a new representative,
c) if the Representative Committee is unable to work effectively with a regional representative then the Representative Committee may appeal to the regional centres for a re-evaluation of their representative. The decision to recall a representative will remain with the centres within the region.
VII.8 Grounds for removal of a regional representative are failure to continue to meet the criteria for regional representative (6.4) and/or failure to fulfill the duties of regional representative.
VII.9 Regional representatives may have voice but no vote at the Annual General Meeting
ARTICLE VIII – FINANCES
VIII.1 The Canadian Association may borrow funds in accordance with national policy.
VIII.2 The Canadian Association may distribute funds to the regions in accordance with Canadian Association policy.
VIII.3 A percentage of the monies received by the Canadian Association on behalf of the member centres may be designated a discretionary fund. Such percentage is to be determined by Consensus of the Representative Committee.
ARTICLE IX – ACCOUNTS
IX.1 The accounts of the Canadian Association shall be audited annually and a written financial report submitted to the member centres at the Annual General Meeting.
ARTICLE X – FISCAL YEAR
X. 1 The fiscal year shall run from April 1 st to March 31″‘.
ARTICLE XI – RECORDS
XI The books and records of the Canadian Association shall be open for inspection, with due notice, at the address of the Canadian Association.
ARTICLE XII – AMENDMENTS
XII.1 By-laws of the Canadian Association may be altered or added to by an extraordinary resolution at the Annual General Meeting with the support of a 3/4 majority vote at such a meeting.
XII.2 60 days notice of such extraordinary resolution shall be given to the members prior to presentation at the Annual General Meeting.
ARTICLE XIII – OFFICIAL LANGUAGES
XIII.1 All materials originating from the Canadian Association must be made available simultaneously in both official languages.
XIII.2 All regional representatives shall have a working knowledge of both official languages, if possible.
XIII.3 There shall be simultaneous translation made available at the Annual General Meeting and at CASAC meetings if necessary.
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRES POLICY
We denounce Frederick Storaska’s book and film “How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive”. The advice in the film and book places women in physical and legal danger. They give a perspective of rape as a crime that is sexually motivated rather than being an act of aggression, and place the responsibility for the attack and the completion of the attack on the women rather than on the rapist where it belongs. The sum content perpetuates the assault of rape, rather than preventing it. Passes at 1976 Convention.
Rape and existing rape laws are among the strongest indicators of prevailing societal attitudes towards women. Based upon seventeenth century laws in which women were regarded as the property of their fathers or husbands, Canadian rape laws reflect these patriarchal attitudes and discriminate against women.
Consequently, few rapes are reported to the police, and even fewer go to trial and result in conviction. The conviction rate for rape is considerably lower than that for other violent crimes. Much of the difficulty arises from the fact that rape is defined not only as an act of violence but as an act of sexual violence. The sexual nature of the crime encourages the usual discriminatory attitudes so often associated with women and sex.
In law, the women who has been raped has the status of a witness to the crime, it is the Crown and not she who presses charges against the accused, and she is represented by an appointed prosecutor and not a lawyer of her choice. Because of sexist attitudes in the courtroom, she is often seen as being on trial and her credibility as a witness is continually questioned on the basis of her past sexual conduct.
The accused is often perceived as someone who intends no harm to the women and who is motivated only by ‘normal’ male desires for sexual gratification.
It is essential that the law acknowledge that rape is an assault and creates a life threatening situation. Rape violates the most basic right of social life, namely the freedom from unprovoked attack on one’s physical person. Any such attack creates potential risk to life, whether it is directed to sexual organs or any other part of the body.
Whereas our present laws related to sexual assaults are entrenched in sexist attitudes, thus rendering both the pretrial procedures a second degradation process for the women who have been sexually assaulted and choose to proceed through the criminal justice system;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. Rape be removed from part IV of the Canadian Criminal Code, entitled’ Sexual Offenses, Public Morals and Disorderly Conduct’.
2. New assault offenses be created to prohibit ail acts of forcible sexual contact.
3. That there be no differentiation on the basis of the gender of the parties to the offense.
4. The concept that should be central in differentiating the specific offenses be the nature and degree of the risk created; e.g. use of a weapon, extent and nature of injuries threatened of inflicted, degree of psychological trauma suffered.
5. The inter spousal exemption from prosecution for rape be removed.
6. Offenses should not be differentiated on the basis of whether or not there was vaginal penetration by a penis. Such distinctions have served to reinforce the view that women’s value is determined by their sexuality and reproductively.
7. The principle that women are as credible as men should be firmly entrenched since the past sexual history of the complainant has been admissible on the theory that it goes to the issue of her credibility, the Canada Evidence Act and the Canadian Criminal Code should be amended to state clearly that ALL evidence as to the past sexual history of the complainant be inadmissible, without exception.
8. A definition section to the proposed new assault offenses should be included to make explicit that the concept of consent relevant to this section is no different than that used for other assaultive offenses. The assumption is that the threat or use of physical coercion negatives any presumption as to consent on the part of the complainant and that this is a rebuttable presumption. However, it should be stipulated at least that:
a) consent may not be inferred from the lack of resistance,
b) nor may a doctrine of constructive consent be developed on the principle of
voluntary assumption of risk.
9. Victim orientated training materials be provided for the training of all court personnel, legal aid personnel, and for the use in the law faculties of universities to facilitate an understanding of rape and to increase sensitivity to the victims of rape
10. That provisions be made to allow the victim her choice of Crown Counsel where possible and assurance of the same Crown Counsel throughout both the preliminary hearing and the trial.
11. Efforts be made to ensure accessibility of prosecutors named for trial to victims of sexual assault during the time preceding the trail. Care must be taken to give the victim notice of trail dates as far in advance as is possible and to ensure that she has an interview with the Crown Counsel well in advance of the preliminary hearing and of the trial.
12. Care must be taken to ensure the separation of the accused and associates of the accused from the victim, both outside the courtroom and in the courtroom.
13. That any person chosen by the victim to support her to be permitted in the courtroom when an application for closed court has been granted.
14. The National Association of Canadian Sexual Assault Centres support the establishment of appropriate programs to rehabilitate those men who have been convicted of sexual offenses, including programs designed for those juveniles convicted of delinquency for what would have been defined as a sexual offense if they had been of adult age. -Passed at 1978 Convention.-
Updated Policy 2001
15. Whereas the rate of conviction in cases of violence against women is lower that most other serious crime and the real incidence of violence against women is higher than most other serious crime and whereas the federal government has implemented Alternate Dispute Resolution policy which diverts men who commit crimes against women away from the courts and whereas Alternate Dispute Resolution has not so far maintained or advanced the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for men and women, for accused or complainant. Be it Resolved That CASAC members publicly protest the application of Alternate Dispute Resolution techniques in cases of violence against women.
16. Whereas we understand prostitution as a form of violence against women
and whereas there is no reason to criminalize victims of violence against women
CASAC member centres support the criminalization of the men responsible for the domestic and international trafficking of women.
Whereas it has been presumed by the proponents of the polygraph machines that physiological changes have regular association between lying and emotional stress, and that therefore the polygraph is a “lie detector”; and
Whereas the polygraph machine is a tool that registers only physiological changes; and
Whereas the test in fact amounts to no more than a subjective interpretation of behaviour; and
Whereas Canada polygraph test results are not admissible evidence in court; and
Whereas it has been stated by Sgt. L. Proke, RCMP Senior Polygraph Operator, during a Royal Commission Report on the Toronto Metropolitan Police, that, “the subject is usually a suspect in a crime or a complainant in a sex offense”; and
Whereas the Vancouver City Police have stated that, “over the past year 43.5% of those subjects examined in a sexual assault case were suspects”, 56.5% must be presumed to be that of victims; and
Whereas CASAC has had increasing reports of the misuse of the threat and usage of the polygraph exam, and there have been documented cases in Clark’s report on “Group Rape”; and
Whereas the polygraph exam is rarely used in the questioning of victims of other crimes; and
Whereas CASAC is actively involved in changing society’s attitudes towards rape and rape victims and in assisting rape victims in obtaining equal treatment before the law,
Therefore be it resolved that CASAC support the right of the victim of sexual assault to refuse to be subjected to a polygraph examination, and
Be it also resolved that CASAC actively work toward the abolition of the use of the polygraph exam on rape victims.
-Passed at 1979 Convention.
Whereas the CASAC upholds the right of a victim of sexual, assault to:
1. A prompt, comprehensive, confidential, and sensitive medical examination,
2. A support person who may be present before and during the medical examination,
3. Information outlining the medical treatment a victim of sexual assault should expect to receive and should be able to request,
4. A thorough explanation by the medical personnel of the treatment procedures and drugs prescribed,
5. The choice of female or male doctors and nurses to perform the examination and treatment,
6. Proper follow-up procedures,
7. Information regarding pregnancy and adequate pregnancy counseling which would include:
a) information on morning after treatment.
b) information on carrying the child to term.
c) information on abortion.
8. Access to information in their medical records.
Therefore be it resolved that: The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres recommend to the member centres that the following guidelines be used when working with medical institutions (i.e. hospitals, clinics)
1. All hospitals and clinics examine and treat the victim of a sexual assault regardless of whether or not the assault has been reported to the police.
2. A standardized medical procedure be developed and implemented in all emergency department and clinics. The standardized procedure to include;
a) History of the victim which must cover contraception use, last menstrual period, obstetrical and gynecological experience, present drug use and allergies;
b) History of the assault to cover circumstances of the attack, time, date, place, use of drugs electively or forced, whether intromission occurred, condom usage, genital and non genital, trauma, presence of pain, and if victim has bathed, douched since assault or since last intercourse prior to rape;
c) complete physical examination to ache in the entire body surface- 7
d) use of a standardized Sexual Assault Evidence Kit, when requested by the victim;
e) information on all procedures, drugs prescribed, and follow-up care.
3. All hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and public health units have and make available to victims of sexual assault information on:
a) groups and agencies working with sexual assault victims in their area;
b) medical rights and needs (follow-up);
c) legal right including information on criminal compensation.
4. A standardized Sexual Assault Evidence Kit be available for use in all hospitals and clinics for taking evidence from victims of sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Evidence Kit to include:
a) forensic evidence gathering material,
b) legal requirements,
c) medical report forms,
d) charts for physical trauma to note bruises, scratches, lacerations, etc.
e) V. D., infection, pregnancy and morning-after treatment information.
5. The Sexual Assault Evidence Kit to be used only with patient consent, following explanation of procedures and use of Kit.
6. Victims of sexual assault may consent to the use of the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit whether or not the assault is reported to the police.
7. Provisions be made for keeping the medical evidence to allow the victim time to make a decision about reporting the incident to the police. Evidence will not be released to the police until the victim signs a release form.
8. Victims are entitled to information regarding the result of the forensic tests.
9. Victim-orientated attitudinal changes consistent with National Association of medical field in order for the victim of sexual assault to receive correct and supportive medical information and treatment.
Whereas women have the right to self-determination, including control over our physical selves, through having the knowledge and the decision-making power to make choices which affect our lives,
Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.
1. Support the right of women to choose abortion.
2. Pressure the federal and provincial governments to acknowledge and fulfill their legal responsibility for ensuring that abortion to be made available to all women regardless of geographic or economic status by;
a) requiring all publicly funded hospitals to provide facilities for abortions and qualified personnel to perform abortions-,
b) dropping all special consent requirements.
3. Publicly funded health care facilities be required to provide adequate pre-and post-abortion counseling including birth control counseling.
Whereas the National Association of Sexual Assault Centres recognizes there is evidence that the use of the synthetic estrogen Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is linked with Aden carcinoma,
Therefore be it resolved that member centres encourage the use of alternatives for DES as morning-after treatment.
-Passed at 1979 Conference.
Whereas women have the right to self-determination, including control over our physical selves, though having the knowledge and the decision-making power to make choices which affect our lives.
Be it resolved that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres;
1. Support the efforts of member centres to provide safe abortion information and access;
2. Support member centres’ efforts to abolish abortion laws. -Passed at 1980 Conference.
Be it resolved that all Canadian Association functions, including conventions, conferences, and meetings, shall be directed toward and open to women only.
The plenary recommends that discussion on this issue be encouraged at a Centre and Regional level through workshops and communication between Centres; Regional Reps may be used to facilitate this discussion within Regions and among Regions; We accept our obligation to support each other in this struggle.
Updated policy 2001
Be it Resolved that:
1. CASAC believes that all member centres should be women led autonomous centres
2. CASAC’s own structures will reflect this belief
3. CASAC will support members in achieving this goal
4. All delegates and observers to CASAC meetings must be women
Recommendation that more information gathering take place and we use the next year as a forum for information gathering about what the rules are in different provinces, to give each other specific instances or cases where compensation has been accepted or denied and use our collective strength to put pressure on our own provincial governments and our own provincial criminal compensation authorities.
The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres recognizes that violence against women in society is manifested in many forms and whereas the CASAC reaffirms our understanding that women who are battered experience the same oppression as women who are sexually assaulted, therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Association through the Regional Representatives compile and circulate to all member centres information regarding battered women and the existing resources in each region.
Outside Observer Policy
Be it resolved that external observers be allowed to the parts of the conference open to public but not to any closed working parts of the conference.
Whereas the Canadian Association of Sexual Centres recognizes the international nature of our struggle and wishes to express solidarity with other women’s groups; and
Whereas CASAC wishes to acknowledge the work of the anti-rape movement as well as the work of others to eradicate violence against women,
Be it resolved that Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres endorse an International Women’s Day of Protest and Celebration of March 8, and that this conference urge all member Centres to publicly protest the violence done to women.
Whereas the Constitution of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres states that member Centres shall maintain confidentiality of services, and
Whereas we are committed to breaking our silence by speaking of our reality and that of all women, and
Whereas we are committed to work together as peers with women who have been raped or assaulted,
Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres support member Centres;
1) who work with women who choose to remain anonymous;
2) who pledge confidentiality to women regardless of legislation-,
3) who have pledged to speak out;
4) who release information as they deem appropriate which will protect, educate other women while respecting their wishes regarding their anonymity.
Whereas information between Centres is information between peers,
Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres support member Centres speaking for their own work and pledging confidentiality about other Centres’ work regardless of legislation.
-Passed at 1980 Conference.
Whereas pornography is that material which portrays women and children as acceptable objects of sexual coercion, violence, degradation and/or dehumanization and,
Whereas pornography legitimizes the roles of women and children as objects for the sexual and aggressive gratification of men, and thus condones, reinforces, and institutionalizes this sexual and economic exploitation, and
Whereas pornography has historically been regulated in order to repress sexuality and not to protect the victims of this exploitation and degradation,
Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres support the action of member Centres which protect this form of hate literature by;
a) integrating a feminist perspective of pornography into their public education work;
b) boycotting all products such as magazines, films, etc. which depict women and children in this way;
c) picketing and demonstrating at institutions which continue to handle such products,
d) conducting educational programs to provide information on the relationship between pornography and violence against women and children;
e) actively supporting children’s rights.
DIRECTIVES TO THE 1979 REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE
1. To explore the pros and cons of legal incorporation.
2. To coordinate and facilitate information gathering and exchange around the issue of child sexual abuse, articles explaining and looking into therapy models.
3. To authorize the Regional Reps to contact Doug Jackson who created the movie, and ask him to delete the last part of the movie what was the panel discussion, and to critique the entire movie.
4. That one of the priorities be to focus on continuing support for the existing Centres and the promotion of the formation of new women’s support groups.
5. That more information gathering be done over the next year so that we can share information on the existing policies and existing interpretations of Criminal Injuries Compensation across the country, facilitate lobbying for equal treatment of rape survivors, and to see a packet of information come out of that so that we are clear on what criminal injuries compensation does and who we can best use it.
6. To look into the possibility of setting up some sort of mechanism for sharing funds at a National level with more disadvantaged Centres through the country and that is again addressing the issue of regional disparity.
7. To run a tighter ship in organizing next year’s conference so that all last minute changes are coming directly through the host city.
8. To look for alternative funding in lieu of the Health and Welfare Grant coming through.
9. To sponsor and facilitate information gathering and distribution material on child victims of incest: counseling methods and alternatives available.
DIRECTIVES TO THE 1980 REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE
1. That the Representative Committee look into and explain the rationale of male exclusion in the Canadian Association.
2. That the committee look into working with multi-handicapped people who have been victims of sexual assault and the legalities of working with them and the institutions they may be involved with.
3. That the committee look into working with native women and multi-cultural groups.
4. That we examine the different perspectives in rape crisis Centres particularly as it relates to service and political action and is reflected in our strategies and techniques. We would like to have this presented as a directive to the Rep. Com. We also would like to be working on it in our own area in the Prairies and then present a workshop next year.
5. That further study of the issue of regional disparity be done by.
a) Encouraging regions to define their regional identities for themselves and find ways to share this knowledge with other regions throughout the year and at the annual conference. (e.g. newsletter, doing a workshop in the annual conference).
b) By looking at the parameters, composition, and function of a region as set out by the constitution of CASAC (e.g. looking at geographical representation, looking at voting representation, with a view to looking at alternatives to the traditional definitions of regions in Canada.
6. Pornography workshop; to include a workshop in the next annual general meeting on children’s rights and protections.
7. To examine the rules of order to allow more flexibility and clarity within the decision making process in the workshops’ plenaries.
8. That the Rep Com facilities media coverage for International Women’s Day and for the Take Back the Night protest.
9. That the CASAC consider the role of research in the anti-rape movement.
10. That the Rep Com investigate methods of developing a simple standardized statistics form for Centres who opt into it.
11. The Rep Com to respond to the Rape Reform Bill expected to be introduced this fall regarding revisions to the rape laws and, if possible, to influence the drafting of such legislation.
12. That the Rep Com encourage and stimulate discussion within the Canadian Association on seeking alternative sources to government funding for the Canadian Association.
13. That the Rep Com be given a mandate to continue to carry out the directives that were passed at the 1979 conference that have not been yet completed, specifically of gathering information across the country on the Child Welfare Protection Act that we were still looking for information on incest and other pieces of information for the clearinghouse.
14. That the regional Rep Com look into developing a communication policy that is separate form the confidentiality policy clause that will address inter-centre systems of communication as well as looking at centre communication with external groups and individuals around the association’s issues policies, controversies and what not.
15. That the Rep Com encourage research into feminist therapy (and to know more about various types of therapy). That a workshop be set up on this topic next year.
16. To recommend to the regional Rep Com to investigate name changes which would be more inclusive.
1. That the name of the National Association of Sexual Assault Centres be changed to the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.
2. Take Back the Night:
a) the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres join with other women from across this continent who on August 2 will be protesting the violence done to women by ‘Taking Back the Night’.
b) member centres be encouraged to take actions as deemed appropriate be members in the centre on August 2 so that there will be continuous Take Back the Night marches of protest in cities and towns from Atlantic to the Pacific done in the name of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.
c) the Representative Committee be able to direct, to facilitate media coverage for this protest.
1981 ADDITION TO LEGAL POLICY FOR THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRES
BY VANCOUVER RAPE RELIEF
(These are additional points under the BE IT RESOLVED following “Whereas our present laws related to sexual assaults are entrenched in sexist attitudes, thus rendering both the pre-trial and trial procedures a second degradation process for the women who have been sexually assaulted and choose to proceed through the criminal justice system,”)
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres supports the creation of tactics by member centres for use by those women who choose not to report to the police insofar as those tactics meet all the following criteria.
c) directed by the violated woman
d) broaden the definition of rape from the legal/technical definition
e) increase public censure of sexist behavior
f) reflects our belief that individual men can change their own sexist behavior
Whereas we recognize that sexist attitudes are entrenched within and perpetuated by traditional psychiatry and its institutions and that traditional psychiatry has not promoted autonomy of women.
Whereas traditional psychiatry is a means of social control to coerce women to adjust to and accept oppression sex roles, and to punish them if they don’t.
Whereas common “treatments” used by psychiatrists for “depression” are electro convulsive therapy and chemical lobotomy (victimization through the prescription of drugs) and since women are most often labeled “depressive” this constitutes violence against women.
Whereas multi-national corporations make millions of dollars in profit from mood altering drugs (2/3 of which are prescribed to women).
Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres support member Centres, who:
a) refuse to make referrals to traditional psychiatrists and psychiatric institutions
b) protest the Mental Health Act re- commitment laws
c) support and work with ex-psychiatric inmate groups and anti psychiatry groups
d) inform women about abusive “treatment” methods and recommend alternatives to traditional psychiatry. i.e. self help.
DIRECTIVES FROM 1981 CASAC CONVENTION
WORKING CLASS WOMEN’S CAUCUS
1. That each centre work towards a regional class caucus.
2. That anti-classist policy be presented at the next convention by the B.C. region.
3. Centres in C.A. S.A. C. address class in order to work towards unity by:
a) actively working towards getting more working class women actively involved in Centres.
b) educating themselves on the definition and effects of classist behavior.
c) educating themselves on the definition and effects of class privilege.
WOMEN OF COLOR CAUCUS
1. That the B.C. region of women of color present anti-racist policy at the next convention.
2. That every woman in all Centres acknowledge, define and act upon her privilege and racism.
3. That every centre in CASAC have in their basis of unity anti-racism.
4. That Centres in CASAC form alliances with and support other anti-racist groups to fight the right – the right being defined as the KKK and other white supremacists.
5. That in practicing those alliances each centre do outreach with women of color by- information sharing, learning from teaching women of color to fight sexism, taking direction from women of color on how to do this.
Our working definitions.
Lesbian: We are all feminists. A lesbian is a woman who prefers and chooses women sexually/emotionally, and who defines herself as a lesbian
Caucus: A group of women (within a larger political group) united by a specific oppression. We have a commitment to emotional support of each other, developing analysis, making connections between the particular oppression and the common oppression, and bringing back to the larger group concrete proposals for change and action, designed to move us forward in our fight towards our liberation as women.
1. That women in member Centres of CASAC encourage the information of caucuses at Centres and regional level.
2. That CASAC member Centres develop alliances with lesbian and other women’s groups who are participating in the organizing of a national day of action and education to protest the oppression of lesbians. This proposal for a day of education and action comes from a national Lesbian Conference in Vancouver where 600 lesbians came together from across Canada to discuss how we live, work and organize.
3. That the CASAC publicity endorse this day of Action and Education – March 27 – and that the Representative Committee be responsible for the co-ordination of the media coverage.
4. That policy on Lesbianism be written this year for presentation at the 1982 CASAC Convention.
1. Recommend to the Representative Committee that work be done to officially recognize all caucuses as an official part of the CASAC structure.
2. That the Canadian Abortion Work Group (from workshop) take on the responsibility for the following areas-
-information on C.N.
-the legalities and history of abortion
-the description of the right
-information on abortion in all areas
3. That there be at least 4 National Newsletters, one in English, one in French that would be the English newsletter translated, one in French and one in English that would be the French edition translated.
4. That one section of the Newsletter be devoted to alternative funding.
5. That B.C. and Quebec take on the responsibility for applying for funds for translation from Secretary of State in order to stress the fact that bilingualism is an irreversible fact.
6. That the Quebec Region undertake work to carry out on Legal Status.
7. That the 1982 CASAC Convention be held in British Columbia.
8. That we accept the 1981 – 1982 Budget, with spending decisions being made by Centres through their Regional Rep, and that we recognize the political importance of making sound decisions about our money.
9. That the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres take responsibility for the CASAC evaluation.
10. That the directives from the Women of Color Caucus be accepted.
11. That the directives from the Working Class Women’s Caucus be accepted.
12. That the directives from the Lesbian Caucus be accepted.
Directives to Representative Committee 2001
1) Implement: Whereas the centres are attempting, through their public education efforts, to broaden the concept of rape to that of sexual assault, which includes a larger number of women’s experiences (all instances of sexual violence)
Whereas the concept of sexual assault also provides additional emphasis to the violent nature of these acts
BE IT PROPOSED that the ACCCV (Association canadienne des centres contre le viol) become the ACCCACS (Association canadienne des centres contre les agressions à caractère sexuel)
2) Enact an Agreement: The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres will file for Incorporation and subsequently file for charitable registration number upon passing of the resolution naming the newly elected regional representatives as first officers on the application.
3) Support members in achieving the policy of women-led autonomous centres
CASAC Resolutions 2005
We are a pan Canadian group of sexual assault centers who have come together to implement the legal social and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent, and ultimately eraducate, rape and sexual assault. As feminists we recognize that violence against women is one of the strongest indicators of prevailing societal attitudes towards women. The intent of CASAC is to act as a force for social change regarding violence against women at the individual, the institutional and the political level.
Toward an End to Violence And Poverty
Violence Against Women prevents women’s equality. Any lack of equality makes women vulnerable to violence. Consequently working to aid women after sexist violent attack is not enough. We must end the inequality of women and the use men make of it. These are the recent policies that are relevant to women’s equality passed at the convention of Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres (CASAC) in April 2005. These positions emerge from our frontline work with the women who call us daily and in turn they inform that work. It was a decision of the convention that these policies are interrelated and should be read together. In that way they produce the strongest political meaning. When we weave together our vision our work and our successes on these reforms their power to transform increases exponentially.
CASAC Policy 2005
We demand for ourselves and other women in Canada a Guaranteed Liveable Income. Toward that end we agreed to explore and incorporate The Pictou Statement. But recognizing the impoverishment of Third World Women we also demand a redistribution of wealth on the international level and so we support the call by the World March of Women to cancel the debt of Third WorldCountries. We passed a call for our centers to work harder to support and ally with existing organizations within Canada of women of color and Indigenous women. CASAC supportsthe Native Women Association of Canada’s call for 10 million dollars for the “Sisters in Spirit Campaign” to lead the campaign to document the missing Native women country- wide and to support their families. Our policy calls for the abolition of prostitution and all forms of sexual exploitation and views prostitution as sexist and racist. We analyzed and stated that prostitution is based on inequalities between men and women, rich and poor adults and children, between counties of the global North and South makes the connection between women’s’ poverty, racism and global patriarchy and therefore requires global feminist action and solidarity. This policy is a continuation of policies uniting CASAC members in October 2001. Faced with the government decriminalization of violence against women and the increased targeted criminalization of women who defended themselves from violence and poverty we acted. Decriminalizing violence against women comes in many forms: through restorative justice or other alternate dispute resolution measures, through diversion from court processes to religious or cultural programs and even through ineffective policing. We passed a resolution to oppose diversion in all forms including “Restorative Justice” as dangerous to women and undermining women’s equality. CASAC Members together call for the criminalization of men who traffick women both internationally and domestically and agreed no criminalization of prostituted women. Last April we strengthened our policy by passing a resolution that calls to an end to all forms of prostitution including pornography and that we place prostitution within the context of globalization.
We believe in a world free from prostitution and all forms of sexual exploitation
We declare that the prostitution system is profoundly sexist and racist. It is based on the existing inequalities between men and women, adults and children, rich and poor, between countries of the north and south and racialized inequalities.
We declare that the root cause of prostitution is the demand for women and children for sexual exploitation that is those men who see it as their unlimitable right to purchase and sexually exploit women and girls.
We declare that prostitution is usually the consequence of women living in economic and affective misery, as well as different forms of sexual violence and social and political inequalities. It is linked to the sexualization of young women and girls. It is therefore not a “choice” of work or a “right” to dispose of one’s body as one wishes.
We believe that sexually exploited women are drawn into a prostitution culture by buyers, procurers and traffickers over a period of time due to the violence of men, to poverty, to the terrible cycle of drug addiction, and to the precarious status of immigrants in this country.
We believe that sexual exploitation based on the commercialization of women’s bodies and is situated on a continuum that includes: pornography, prostitution, all forms of sexual violence (pedophilia), domestic and international sexual trafficking and sexual slavery.
We believe that the globalization of sexual trafficking feeds the sex industry’s constant demand for “new blood” and “exoticism”. It touches the life of millions of people, mostly women and girls from southern countries, Eastern Europe, but also within Canada.
We denounce the sex industry which in the context of globalization exploits the misery and the vulnerability of the most fragile members of society and those made vulnerable due to war, armed conflicts and economics, social, political and environmental crises.
We reaffirm that the struggle against all the forms of sexual exploitation is an integral part of the battle for the respect of human rights, sexual equality, and the equality between all peoples.
Therefore be it resolved:
We consider prostitution a form of violence against women and demand the criminal prosecution of all procurers and traffickers.
We demand that the Canadian government respects the commitments that it made signing and ratifying the United Nations Palermo protocol by ensuring the security, protection of and assistance to trafficked persons and people, and ceasing all detention and deportation of victims of trafficking.
No Restorative Justice/ADR in cases of Violence Against Women
Current Canadian Restorative and Alternative Justice models do not effectively or adequately address women’s equality issues; use of these programs in cases of male violence against women is dangerous and counterproductive to women achieving safety and justice after rape.
Be it resolved that
There are no Restorative or Alternative Justice programs in Canada at present that the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres will support for use in cases of male violence against women.
We as an Association do not support the decriminalization of sexual violence: we acknowledge that current Restorative and Alternative Justice programs have the potential to effectively decriminalize sexual violence.
The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres will not consider supporting any Restorative or Alternative Justice Programs for use in cases of male violence against women unless the following criteria are met:
Women have control over whether their case of male violence is addressed through Restorative or Alternative Justice measures.
The program has a structure and philosophy that reflects a demonstrated commitment to women’s equality. Specifically, the program is developed in collaboration with women’s equality seeking groups, and is based in narrative research conducted in collaboration with women’s equality seeking groups.
The program treats all forms of male violence against women with equal seriousness. The program does not assume that any category of offense or perpetrator is more amenable to resolution by restorative justice means.
The program is adequately resourced to address the extensive support necessary for women to go through a Restorative or Alternative Justice process.
note: CASAC agrees we are not in favour of prosecuting boys the same as adult men.
We denounce and we are deeply angry about the disappearance during the last 20 years of 500 Native women from various Native communities in Canada.
We deplore that Native women remain the target of violence and hatred based on race. Unfortunately, they continue to be objectified, disrespected, dishonoured, ignored and killed- very often without any punishment.
We support the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s “Sisters in Spirit” campaign, which is asking for $10 million in fundraising to:
Research and document the number of circumstances of the Native women who have disappeared and been killed in Canada.
Public education about the causes of violence against Native women.
Public workshops about the missing women and their families
An emergency telephone line and official registry to report the disappearances and keep statistics.
We are asking our federal government to provide this funding for research and education as asked for by NWAC.
Given that poverty is disproportionately imposed on women, and in a particular fashion on indigenous women, women of colour, immigrant and refugee women, women with disabilities, and single mothers.
Given that poverty increases the vulnerability of women to being attacked in their homes, on the job, and on the street
And given that poverty creates barriers to women’s autonomy which are difficult to overcome
And given that poverty prevents women’s access to health and justice after attacks of violence
And given the CASAC sees hopes in the analysis and attitude of the Pictou gathering
Be it resolved that CASAC supports the Pictou Statement as a starting point for a feminist economic theory
Whereas when women’s organizing may look different in different communities, locally and world wide, and
Whereas the major reason women flee their countries is because the forces of patriarchy, including capitalism, this requires global feminist solidarity with poor women, indigenous women and women of colour worldwide,
And whereas the majority of the people in the world are women, women of colour, indigenous and poor women,
If the world were fair there would be no poor and women of colour and indigenous women would hold 75% of the world’s power,
And whereas we want liberation for women inside and outside Canada, any affirmative action strategy will have to work on a world wide scale that would mean more power held by indigenous and women of colour world wide.
And whereas we see the uprising of the women of the global south as an integrated uprising,
Therefore be it resolved:
We will support and ally with existing organized women of colour and indigenous anti-violence women’s groups locally and globally.
Be it resolved that CASAC members support the emergence of autonomous groups of women of colour and indigenous women and race integration of CASAC members. This requires extra resources tactics, strategies and commitment on the part of our centres in order to achieve this.
Further be it resolved, that in our demand for a guaranteed livable income, and our demand for the redistribution of wealth, we include and support the call of the World March of Women to cancel debt of Third World Countries.