Sexual assault or abuse is physically and emotionally traumatic. The focus on coping with the pain, shock and humiliation caused by the event can be all-consuming. In addition to the time it takes to physically recover, shame, misplaced guilt, and fear of stigmatization can keep survivors from facing their abuser and seeking compensation for their physical and emotional injuries. When you have experienced sexual assault or abuse you have a right to justice and restitution.

At Murphy Battista LLP we understand the importance of a trauma-informed approach when we help clients who have been through a personally devastating experience. We have experience helping survivors of sexual crimes, whether the events happened at work, at home, or in the community.

People of all ages and genders can be targets of sexual assault or abuse. We are aware that in many cases the events took place in the past (sometimes the distant past) and that it takes tremendous courage to come forward and break the silence. We are committed to supporting survivors in overcoming the trauma they have endured and to helping them get the closure and the financial compensation that they deserve.

If you or someone you love has experienced the trauma of sexual assault or abuse we can help. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation.


Let’s Talk: A Primer on Bill M215 (Non-Disclosure Agreements Act) in British Columbia

March 22, 2023

On March 9, 2023, MLA Sonia Furstenau tabled Bill M215 in the British Columbia Legislature — British Columbia’s first proposed legislation directed at ending the unfair use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in discrimination and harassment cases, including cases involving sexual harassment. As my colleague, Janelle O’Connor, has previously written about…

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Buying Silence?: The Future of NDAs in Civil Sexual Assault Settlements

March 8, 2023

A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is a legal contract in which a person agrees to keep certain information confidential. NDAs were originally used to keep business information, such as intellectual property and trade secrets confidential; however, over time, they have also become commonplace in sexual assault settlements. Last month, lawyers across Canada…

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Silencing Survivors in Civil Sexual Assault Settlements

October 27, 2022

In my civil sexual assault practice, some clients wish to remain anonymous, but most don’t. I have learnt that choosing to speak out about one’s own experience of sexual abuse can be an important and potentially therapeutic form of healing and recovery for survivors. Speaking publicly is important to some…

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Considerations for Lawyers Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence

February 9, 2022

Janelle O’Connor wrote the article, “Considerations for Lawyers Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence,”  that was recently published in the CBABC Women Lawyers Forum, Winter 2022 newsletter. Read the article (page 6): Here.

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Government Liability for Sexual Abuse by Foster Parents

November 2, 2021

Cases involving physical and sexual abuse of children by their foster parents is a devastating reality that I am often exposed to in my law practice. The foster care system is meant to protect vulnerable children from abuse and neglect, yet in some cases it does the opposite – exposing…

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Civil vs. Criminal Proceedings for Sexual Assault

October 21, 2021

I am a civil sexual assault lawyer and routinely receive phone calls from sexual assault survivors who are confused about the interplay between the civil and criminal processes for their sexual assault claims. The decision on whether to pursue a civil claim, a criminal proceeding, or both – and the…

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Sexual assault training for judges now mandatory

May 13, 2021

Significant changes designed to enhance confidence in the criminal justice system among survivors of sexual assault came into force last week. The changes involve amendments to the Judges Act and the Criminal Code and are designed to assist judges in deciding sexual assault cases without the influence of myths and stereotypes.…

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Vicarious liability of school boards for sexual abuse by teachers: Is the school still out?

April 12, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that teachers play a key role in society that places them in a direct position of trust and authority towards their students.  Teachers have significant power, authority, and control over their students. They have control over almost all aspects of a student’s day,…

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Claims against the Ministry of Children and Family Development

May 19, 2020

In 2019, the Spotlight: Child Welfare collaborative journalism project published a report revealing that the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) was failing to meet the basic requirements for children in their care. The MCFD looks after about 6,500 children.  In about 40% of these cases, the MCFD…

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In the News

Delays in civil sexual assault trials create further access to justice barriers.

January 31, 2024

Janelle O’Connor is quoted in an article that addresses the many ways our justice system is failing survivors of sexual violence. Read the full story: She sought justice for sexual assault. B.C.’s judge shortage became her battle.

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Sexual grooming and exploitation claim filed against former soccer coach and the school

October 24, 2022

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff was sexually groomed and exploited while attending Oak Bay High School by her teacher and high school soccer coach. After a lengthy investigation into these allegations by the British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, the teacher received a lifetime teaching ban in August. Janelle…

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Murphy Battista LLP representing former student in sexual exploitation claim against Greater Victoria School Board and former teacher.

October 7, 2022

Janelle O’Connor is representing a former student in a civil suit against the Greater Victoria School Board and former Oak Bay High School teacher and soccer coach. The claim alleges that her coach on multiple teams in the early 2000s, sexually groomed and exploited her when she was a Grade…

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Janelle O’Connor Co-Chairing CLEBC Sexual Violence (Civil) Conference 2022

February 25, 2022

On March 30, 2022, Janelle O’Connor is co-chairing a CLEBC full-day conference for lawyers on how to effectively and ethically advance and defend civil claims of sexual violence. Early bird registration ends March 2, 2022.  Register HERE This is CLEBC’s inaugural course for litigators who have an interest in practicing…

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More sexual assault survivors turning to civil court

October 4, 2021

Janelle O’Connor is representing a BC woman in a civil lawsuit against two Victoria realtors and their agency for sexual assault. Read the CBC Go Public story (Warning: distressing details): Civil suit alleges 2 Victoria real estate agents drugged and sexually assaulted their client Watch the story clip from CBC’s…

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After a criminal conviction for sexual assault, many clients turn to Murphy Battista to pursue civil litigation to seek restitution

April 15, 2021

Murphy Battista Represents Woman Suing Former B.C. City Councillor Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Her When She Was a Teenager (more…)

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Bill Dick, K.C. comments on sexual abuse settlement with Diocese of Kamloops

September 16, 2020

Castanet reporter Tereza Verenca interviewed Bill Dick, K.C. about the out-of-court settlement he reached on behalf of two Vernon brothers who survived sexual abuse by a Vernon priest when they were teenagers. The article includes the letter written by the Bishop of Kamloops, Joseph Phuong Nguyen, urging people to break…

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Murphy Battista LLP Files Archdiocese of Vancouver Abuse Class Action

September 10, 2020

Murphy Battista LLP has filed a proposed class action against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver alleging systemic sexual, physical and psychological abuse of parishioners by individuals who, at all material times, were employees, agents or servants of the Archdiocese – including cardinals, bishops, archbishops, priests, deacons and lay ministers…

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Murphy Battista LLP settles sexual abuse case involving Vernon priest.

September 8, 2020

Bill Dick, Q.C., represented two brothers sexually abused by Father Herbert Bourne while Bourne was a priest in Vernon during the 1970s. The abuse occurred when the brothers were teenagers. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse inflicted by people in positions of trust or power is extremely damaging. It takes a…

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Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver covered up systemic abuse, silenced survivors for decades, lawsuit claims

August 28, 2020

First class-action filed in B.C. Supreme Court since the district released its report on clergy sexual abuse last November. The article notes, “The proposed class-action lawsuit filed this week said the Archdiocese of Vancouver not only knew for years about allegations of systemic sexual, physical and psychological abuse, but “fostered…

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Settlement estimated at $100M approved for women sexually harassed while employed by RCMP

March 19, 2020

Settlement estimated at $100M approved for women sexually harassed while employed by RCMP, covered in the March 2020 issue of Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Read the article

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First Nations Women Sue B.C. Government Over Foster Care Abuse

February 1, 2020

Janelle O’Connor is representing five First Nations women from different communities around B.C. in a lawsuit against the provincial government over allegations they were sexually and physically abused in foster homes. Read the full Vancouver Sun article: First Nations women sue government over alleged horrific abuse by foster parents …

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