West Coast LEAF Issues Timely Reports on Human Rights Issues

November 24, 2014

Two new reports from West Coast LEAF shine a spotlight on Canadian women’s human rights.

Able Mothers: The intersection of parenting, disability and the law looks at how discrimination and misconceptions affect decisions that impact mothers with disabilities and their children. The report’s author Laura Track, Legal Director at West Coast LEAF, notes that,

“There is little research in Canada on the legal and policy issues faced by mothers with disabilities. However, it is clear that women with disabilities experience many distinct parenting issues not faced by disabled fathers or non-disabled parents of other genders. Women bear a disproportionate responsibility for child care and, as we detail throughout this report, face scrutiny of their behaviour and choices as parents that men do not. Women with disabilities are especially likely to be discouraged from parenting and to lose custody of their children. Moreover, disabled women who are also marginalized by race, poverty, sexual orientation and other grounds face additional challenges and barriers. An analysis attentive to the unique experiences of women with disabilities is necessary in order to prevent these women’s voices from being silenced.”

#CyberMisogyny: Using and Strengthening Canadian Legal Responses to Gendered Hate and Harassment Online looks at how law treats types of cyber misogyny such as revenge porn, sexting, child sexual exploitation, cyberstalking, and gender-based hate speech online. The report describes how

“Law has a crucial role to play in this endeavour. Holding harassers and hatemongers legally accountable for their actions will serve an important educational function by denouncing these behaviours and sending the message that they will not be tolerated. Law can deter online harassment’s harms by raising the costs of noncompliance beyond its expected benefits; it can also remedy such harms with monetary damages, injunctions and criminal convictions. When the law treats cyber misogyny as the discriminatory and sexist conduct that it is, it will encourage women and girls to come forward and demand its redress, rather than suffering in silence.”

Both reports include first-hand experiences from women and provide legal and policy recommendations to try to address these current issues.

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