Toronto Star

Speaking out against the IRB's revictimization of an abused woman

The Toronto Star has reported a story about one of our clients today.  You can find the article here.  Here are some more details about the case:

A few months ago, we met an amazing woman who had fled an extremely abusive relationship in Botswana.  She came to us after her refugee claim had been refused by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).  When we reviewed the IRB decision we were outraged. 

The board member, Michael Sterlin, blamed the woman for not seeking help from the police until 10 months after her abuse started.  He wrote:

"The Panel would have expected the claimant to at least make some effort to protect herself before allowing herself to be beaten some 100 times. ... The Panel finds that if the claimant were truly beaten some 100 times in 10 months, then she would have reported her husband to the police, tried to take shelter, or do something to put herself out of harm's way.  It is entirely possible that if the claimant had reported herself to the police after the first beating, or after a few beatings, then he may have been constrained from beating her again."

"The decision re-victimizes an abused woman and exhibits no understanding of the cycle of violence that many women face, as was recognized by the Supreme Court in R. v. Lavallee fourteen years ago.  The ignorance displayed in the decision is completely unacceptable," says Aadil Mangalji.

We will be arguing this decision in Federal Court on October 15.  To show your support, please share this story with others and contact the IRB at:

74 Victoria Street, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario
M5C 3C7 Telephone: 416-954-1000
Fax: 416-954-1165


Minister Chris Alexander at: