The Biking Lawyer LLP

926 College Street

Toronto, Ontario M6H 1A4

The Biking Lawyer is located on 

Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit 

& the Dish with One Spoon Wampum.

© 2021 The Biking Lawyer LLP.

The Biking Lawyer LLP is a founding organizer and sponsor of the Toronto Bike Brigade. Proceeds from all of our work go to support the Bike Brigade as they delivery food, supplies, and support to communities in need. Solidarity, not charity.

The Biking Lawyer LLP is a founding organizer and sponsor of the Toronto Bike Brigade. Proceeds from all of our work go to support the Bike Brigade as they delivery food, supplies, and support to communities in need. Solidarity, not charity.

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Our lawyers are compassionate and caring, but we are also fierce, strategic and effective. We achieve great results for our clients, while ensuring their dignity is respected as well.

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WE BELIEVE SURVIVORS

We provide top-tier legal representation to survivors of sexual assault. Our team pursues a progressive and determined approach to advocacy ensuring our client’s voices are heard and respected. Our team is highly experienced in representing survivors.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

More than 1 in 3 women experienced sexual violence involving physical contact in her lifetime and nearly 1 in 4 men. 


Sexual violence involves sexual activity without consent and it can take many forms, including assault, harassment, revenge porn, and other types of cyber sexual violence. It impacts every community and affects people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ages. Anyone can experience sexual violence, but most victims are female.  

 Sexual assault is any form of non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual assault can happen to anyone at any time. Offenders can be family members, caregivers, teachers, coaches, childcare workers, medical or other professionals, clergy, or total strangers. 
 
Survivors of sexual assault, and sexual violence have rights to criminal and civil justice. At the Biking Lawyer LLP, we help survivors get the justice they deserve. 

THE CIVIL PROCESS: SUING THE ASSAILANT

For some survivors, choosing to sue is the right choice. If you have been assaulted, no matter who did it or when it happened, it was not your fault. You should speak to a lawyer whenever it is safe to do so. There are no time limits for suing for sexual assault, domestic violence or child abuse.

 

Commencing a lawsuit is a big decision. A lawsuit can be a painful process, but it can also be a positive, healing experience. Perhaps most importantly, a survivor can regain a sense of power and control in suing the perpetrator(s). Unlike criminal proceedings, where a survivor is merely a witness for the crown and has no control over the process, in a civil case the survivor has a great deal of control over how the case is moves forward. 

 

The civil process provides survivors the opportunity to hold more parties than the assailant responsible for their injuries. Often, sexual assault and sexual violence perpetrators take advantage of systemic failures, toxic work environments, and limited accountability measures. For example, an employer, school board, church, police service, etc., may be found to be liable for the acts of its employees by, for example, failing to investigate earlier complaints or check the perpetrator’s references. In some cases, the employer may be automatically liable for the wrongful acts of its employees.

 

A civil law claim entitles you to seek damages for several aspects of your injuries and recovery, including:

 

  • Compensation for pain and suffering;

  • Compensation for past and future counseling and care; and,

  • Compensation for past and future economic/education losses

 

The process can take a few years and you will may have to tell your story several times to different people. You may also need to undergo various medical or psychological assessments. Only the survivor of sexual assault can decide whether bringing a lawsuit will be worthwhile, weighing the likelihood of a successful outcome against the difficulties of going through the court process.

For some, telling the police about the sexual assault can be an empowering experience. For others, involving the police is not the right choice. As a survivor, it is important for you to understand that while reporting the sexual assault to the police can be very empowering, once the police are involved your ability to control the process will be limited. Overall, the process of reporting sexual violence can be traumatizing in itself, be sure to access support from a local Rape Crisis Centre.

Here is what you can generally expect when you report sexual assault/sexual violence to law enforcement: 

  • The police will begin by taking a statement from you and will then start to collect evidence

  • Depending on the nature of the assault, you may be asked to undergo a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit at a hospital

  • If there is enough evidence, the police will lay charges

  • Once charges are laid, the accused will often not be in jail pending trial. But, the judge can put conditions on the accused’s release.

  • If the accused pleads guilty, you will not have to testify.

  • If the accused pleads not guilty, you will be required to provide evidence at the criminal trial and will be subjected to cross-examination by the assailant’s lawyer.

  • After a guilty plea or a guilty verdict, you may submit a victim impact statement to tell the judge how the assault has affected you and your family.

  • The accused can face up to ten years in prison. If a weapon was involved, the accused can be given a life sentence.

THE CRIMINAL PROCESS:

REPORTING THE SEXUAL ASSAULT TO THE POLICE

I am a survivor of Human Trafficking. I wanted to work with a team that was dedicated to my case and the rights of vulnerable women in my situation. Dave and his team provided me care for this matter in a way that I will always be grateful for. Through compassionate care, a non-judgemental stance and his commitment to my case, I was able to get the compensation needed to begin the process of healing and recovery. I felt heard, understood and in good hands with Dave and his team. His (work- i want to use another word) on my case has given me the best chance at recovery and has allowed me to end this chapter in my life and begin anew. 

G.R.   |  Survivor

Is there a time limit to reporting sexual assault?


There is no time limit for reporting a sexual assault. Importantly however, sometimes delaying reporting the incident to the Police may lead to important evidence being lost. Try your best to preserve any evidence that corroborates what occurred.




Will the assailant be arrested once I report the incident to police?


Police may delay, or may not lay charges against the assailant. It is important for any survivor to understand that even if the police do not lay charges, it does not mean they do not believe you. Rather, there may not be enough evidence to legally proceed.




Is the Prosecutor my lawyer?


If charges are laid, the Prosecutor (the Crown) is not your lawyer, and does not have to represent your interests. Many survivors mistakenly believe that the prosecution is their lawyer which can sometimes lead to distress when critical decisions are made about the proceedings, that go against their interests/desires.




Can I get a lawyer to represent me in the criminal process?


Yes, you can retain a lawyer to help guide you through the criminal process. However, it is important to note that they do not have an official role in the criminal process, but you still may find it helpful to have that support. You may be eligible for free legal advice to help you understand the Criminal Process. In Ontario, the government offers survivors up to four (4) hours of free legal advice, if they live in Toronto, Ottawa, or Thunder Bay.




Do I have to testify in Court?


If the assailant pleads not guilty, it is likely that you will be required to testify and subjected to cross-examination




How long will it take for the criminal process take to finish?


The Court process may take anywhere from several months to several years




If I don’t report what happened to the police, can I still sue the assailant?


Not reporting the sexual violence to law enforcement does not mean you cannot seek justice through the civil process. In fact, the majority of incidents of sexual violence in Canada are not reported to police. Whether or not criminal charges have been brought against the abuser, a survivor of sexual assault is entitled to sue their attacker and anyone who may have been in a position to stop or prevent the abuse.





FAQ

For some survivors, choosing to sue is the right choice. If you have been assaulted, no matter who did it or when it happened, it was not your fault. You should speak to a lawyer whenever it is safe to do so. There are no time limits for suing for sexual assault, domestic violence or child abuse.

 

Commencing a lawsuit is a big decision. A lawsuit can be a painful process, but it can also be a positive, healing experience. Perhaps most importantly, a survivor can regain a sense of power and control in suing the perpetrator(s). Unlike criminal proceedings, where a survivor is merely a witness for the crown and has no control over the process, in a civil case the survivor has a great deal of control over how the case is moves forward. 

The civil process provides survivors the opportunity to hold more parties than the assailant responsible for their injuries. Often, sexual assault and sexual violence perpetrators take advantage of systemic failures, toxic work environments, and limited accountability measures. For example, an employer, school board, church, police service, etc., may be found to be liable for the acts of its employees by, for example, failing to investigate earlier complaints or check the perpetrator’s references. In some cases, the employer may be automatically liable for the wrongful acts of its employees.

 

A civil law claim entitles you to seek damages for several aspects of your injuries and recovery, including:

 

  • Compensation for pain and suffering;

  • Compensation for past and future counseling and care; and,

  • Compensation for past and future economic/education losses

 

The process can take a few years and you will may have to tell your story several times to different people. You may also need to undergo various medical or psychological assessments. Only the survivor of sexual assault can decide whether bringing a lawsuit will be worthwhile, weighing the likelihood of a successful outcome against the difficulties of going through the court process.

THE CIVIL PROCESS:

SUING THE ASSAILANT

We provide survivors with a free consultation and overview of how a case would proceed. We will outline the pros and cons of advancing a lawsuit. Our approach is framed in what is best for you and the likelihood of success. If retained we take most of our sexual assault claims on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay unless we are successful for you.  

 

Our commitment extends beyond individual cases. We support survivors in the community and the fantastic organizations that do the heavy lifting in our society. 

We have worked and partnered with the following groups:

Ontario government criticized for change to compensation for sexual-violence victims.

Ontario budget cuts millions in compensation to victims of violent crime, advocates say.

Ontario Cuts Compensation For Victims Of Crime.