Thursday, November 16, 2017

How effective is mandatory sensitivity training for judges?

As yet more Canadian judges are being accused of a less than fair and sensitive approach to sexual assault cases, there are increasing calls for mandatory training in such cases for ALL judges, not just newly-appointed ones as is currently the case, and a bill is being introduced in the Ontario legislature to that effect.
I have to say, though, that I don't have much confidence that this kind of sensitivity training is likely to have much effect on the type of people we are talking about here. Just imagine a judge who is capable of suggesting that a victim should have kept her knees together or that she was probably flattered by the attentions of her attacker attending sensitivity training. At the very least, I can imagine a good deal of eye-rolling and yawning.
Sure, it can't do any harm, and it may be a reasonable first step, but don't expect it to change the philosophies of these dinosaurs overnight. Probably more effective is the kind of public shaming Justice Camp received after his bad behaviour. But then public shaming is not considered very politically correct either these days, is it?

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