You Are Not Alone

Many survivors of sexual assault are seeking closure, a way to heal, a way to move forward — often years after the abuse. They need a safe place where they can discuss their legal options with lawyers who have a special expertise in, and understanding of, their situation.

The Sexual Assault Group at Torkin Manes provides that safe place. We have helped hundreds of victims, whether the sexual assault was an isolated incident or long-term sexual abuse. We help them sort through their legal options to find the way that will help them the most. We can help them hold both the abuser and responsible institutions to account. We can empower them to stand up for themselves, secure in the knowledge that they are protected by our extensive legal experience with sexual assault cases. If they choose to sue, we know how to prepare an effective lawsuit that will help them achieve their healing goals.

A recent study published by the Canadian Mental Health Association found that almost one in three Canadian adults were abused as children. No right thinking person would ever blame an abused child. Yet perpetrators are masterful at making children feel shame, that something is wrong with them and that the abuse is their fault. These feelings often carry into adulthood. Perpetrators are also masters at securing the child’s silence. Many survivors wait decades to come forward; some never do.

Coming forward is a brave thing to do and it takes a lot of courage. For some survivors pursing legal cases is an important step in the healing journey. However it is not for everyone. While a lawyer can certainly give you a legal opinion on the strength of your case, no one but you can decide if pursuing a legal case is the right decision for you.

Some survivors come forward to encourage others to do so as well, or to draw public attention to an important issue (i.e. public awareness and education) and to make the world a safer place for children now and in the future.

This website provides information for victims of sexual assault/abuse who are trying to decide whether to take legal action. A civil lawsuit is different from criminal proceedings and can be brought against people or organizations, whether they were the abuser or responsible for the welfare of the victim. We provide an initial consultation at no charge; if we think there is a realistic chance of winning the case, we will take the case on contingency, which means that the client does not pay until we win a settlement in the lawsuit.

Loretta Merritt has over 25 years of experience representing hundreds of clients in abuse and harassment matters in civil lawsuits. As a recognized expert she is frequently quoted in the media [hyperlink to media coverage, Twitter feed, etc.] when journalists seek her commentary on cases in the news. Loretta can be reached at 416 777 5404 or lmerritt@torkinmanes.com.

Date Title Related Lawyers Type

September 2014

Mastering Written Advocacy in Mediations

The Osgoode Short Course on Mediation Advocacy, Osgoode Hall Law School/York University

Loretta P. Merritt

Presentation

July 2014

Concurrent criminal and civil cases: Making the most of evidence

The Litigator, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

December 2013

Written Advocacy in Mediation

The Osgoode Short Course in Mediation Advocacy, Osgoode Hall Law School/York University

Loretta P. Merritt

Presentation

April 2013

Pursuing Compensation for Victims of Crime - Civil Lawsuits

The Gatehouse - Transforming Trauma Into Triumph Conference

Loretta P. Merritt

Presentation

June 2011

Do the Courts Favour Women Survivors?

AbuseHurts.com E-Zine

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

May 2011

Punching a Bully Can Be Self Defence

AbuseHurts.com E-Zine

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

February 2011

Two Wishes for Legal Changes in 2011

AbuseHurts.com E-Zine

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

January 2011

Legal Issues of Most Concern to Survivors

AbuseHurts.com E-Zine

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

December 2010

Civil Sexual Assault

Contributing Author, Annual Review of Civil Litigation, 2010 (10th edition), by The Honourable Mr. Justice Todd L. Archibald and The Late Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Scott Echlin.

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

April 2010

No-Fault Liability for Institutional Sexual Abuse Since the Trilogy of E.D.G., K.L.B. and M.B.

The Canadian Institute's 9th National Summit on Institutional Liability for Sexual Assault and Abuse

Loretta P. Merritt

Article

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