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November 17, 2021|Article
Written by Hammerco Lawyers

BC should follow the lead of PEI in considering a limit on non-disclosure agreements that hide the details of sexual assaults

“An NDA allows the abuser to buy a victim’s silence, and bury the consequences of their own actions”
– Morgyn Chandler, Hammerco

Vancouver, B.C. (November 9, 2021): A news report from Prince Edward Island says that province could become the first place in Canada where non-disclosure agreements could become limited in cases of sexual misconduct – following the lead of some U.S. states and other countries.

A private member’s bill limiting such NDAs in P.E.I. has only been introduced so far, but it shines a light on an ongoing situation in all Canadian jurisdictions, in which an abuser can seek an NDA as part of a settlement to prevent both abuser and victim from going public about their case.

“The abuser’s actions stay hidden, and the survivor is prohibited from being able to tell her story. That’s the unfortunate current state of things here in B.C. and everywhere else in Canada,” says Morgyn Chandler, Co-Managing Partner and head of the sexual assault practice group at Hammerco Lawyers LLP in Vancouver.

“It’s totally unbalanced and unfair. An NDA increases the likelihood of repeat assaults as perpetrators feel like they have ‘gotten away with it’ and can act again against new victims. Public transparency, however, prevents abusers from hiding their crimes and is the only way victims can be free to speak out against those who assault them and warn others.

“Our current system still seems to encourage this culture of protecting abusers and that needs to change,” Chandler adds. “The #MeToo movement shows we collectively want justice for victims, not actions that prevent them from speaking out about what happened to them,” Chandler adds.

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