Rabble, January 14, 2014Radio/Podcast
In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Elizabeth Sheehy about her new book, which looks at the cases of 11 women who are accused of killing their male partners in self-defence...
Supreme Court rules police can swab a suspected rapist without a warrant
The Globe and Mail, June 23, 2016Online
In a ruling that adds to police powers in investigating rape, the Supreme Court of Canada says police have the right to take a penile swab from suspected attackers, forcibly if necessary, as long as they do so in a private cell and have reasonable grounds to believe they will find relevant evidence...
How the Jian Ghomeshi trial has ‘changed forever’ the conversation about sexual assault in Canada
Global News, February 10, 2016Online
As the trial of Jian Ghomeshi comes to a close, legal experts say the case has “changed forever” the social conversation around sexual assault but are divided about whether it will discourage women from reporting it to police. Elizabeth Sheehy, a law professor from the University of Ottawa, believes that women in Canada are engaging in new and very public discussion of the issues raised by the treatment of the three complainants in the case...
Elizabeth Sheehy: The law, and history, speak for themselves
National Post, December 17, 2013Online
I wish I were the radical that columnist Barbara Kay claims I am in her column. Instead, I am a rather boring law professor who knows history and the law. The Ottawa Citizen reported that I said women are justified in killing their abusers, even if they are asleep or passed out. The thing is, back in 1982, a Nova Scotia jury of Jane Stafford’s peers said just that, when they acquitted her of murder after a lengthy trial for the death of her husband Billy Stafford — of Life With Billy fame.
Allan Rock and Elizabeth Sheehy: The way forward on sexual assault on campus
Ottawa Citizen, February 5, 2016Online
Two years ago, allegations of sexual violence involving students led the University of Ottawa to create a task force on respect and equality, with a mandate to recommend policies and practices to create a safe and respectful environment on campus...
University of Ottawa Press
Securing Fair Outcomes for Battered Women Charged with Homicide: Analysing Defence Lawyering in R v Falls
Published by Melbourne University Law Review
2015 Despite law reforms intended explicitly to improve their prospects of receiving fairer consideration within the criminal justice system, it is still the case that most battered women accused of homicide are not successful in relying on self-defence. Defending battered women charged with homicide offers substantial challenges for defence lawyers. Acquittals leave little trace in standard modes of legal reporting and thus there are few opportunities for defence lawyers to examine the advocacy of their peers. In this article we document strategies that may support successful outcomes with specific reference to R v Falls, in which a battered woman charged with murder in ‘non-confrontational circumstances’ was acquitted on the basis of self-defence.
Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus: What Can Canadian Universities Learn from US Law and Policy?
Published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press
2015 We first turn to a brief discussion of the legal context in which Canadian post-secondary institutions operate, particularly federalism, provincial human rights codes, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and tort law. Second we describe the legal context in which US universities and colleges sit: Title IX, the Clery Act, the Obama Task Force and its 2014 Report, and the ongoing investigations and litigation arising from federal regulation. Third we look at what Canadian institutions might learn from the US experience specifically on the issues around reporting obligations, disciplinary measures, and protections for women who report sexual violence.
Defending Battered Women on Trial
Published by UBC Press
2015 Elizabeth Sheehy uses trial transcripts and a detailed case study approach to tell, for the first time, the stories of eleven women, ten of whom killed their partners and one who did not. She looks at the barriers women face to "just leaving," how self-defence was argued in these cases, and which form of expert testimony was used to frame women's experience of battering. Drawing upon a rich expanse of research from many disciplines, including law, psychology, history, sociology, women's studies, and social work, she highlights the limitations of the law of self-defence, the successful strategies of defence lawyers, the costs to women undergoing a murder trial, and the serious difficulties of credibility that they face when testifying. In a final chapter, she proposes numerous reforms.
Elizabeth Sheehy is an international expert on legal responses to male violence against women. She has taught Criminal Law and Procedure, Sexual Assault Law and Defending Battered Women on Trial to decades of law students and published extensively on sexual assault and battered women. She has played a role in law reform in the criminal law as it affects women, working with frontline women's groups and the Department of Justice. She has written many opinion pieces and been quoted by journalists in both radio and print. She holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Master's in law from Columbia University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Law Society of Upper Canada. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and has received recognition for her contributions to advancing the law in the interests of women who experience male violence, including, most recently, the Person's Award and the Order of Ontario.
Roman John Hnatyshyn Award for Law | Professional
2013 Awarded by the Canadian Bar Association.
Member of the Royal Society of Canada | Professional
Excellence in Teaching Award | Professional
Awarded by the Common Law Students’ Society at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.
David Walter Mundell Medal 2015 | Professional
Awarded by the AG Ontario for her book, Defending Battered Women on Trial: Lessons from the Transcripts (UBC Press 2014)