Dr. Suzanne Williams is a lawyer, facilitator, educator, consultant and long-time child rights advocate. She has worked with all levels of government, a national law firm and IICRD in a variety of roles including Deputy and Legal Director. Suzanne has led child rights-based initiatives such as the multi-sector Child Protection Partnership that brought together Microsoft, UNICEF, the RCMP, Plan International, the Canadian International Development Agency, young people and IICRD, and built a network of more than 70 public and private partners in Thailand and Brazil to more effectively address online child sexual exploitation, and Hear the Child which strengthened hearing from children in justice decision-making. She has been an invited expert for the European Union, Canada’s Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Plan International for Because I am a Girl, and the National Judicial Institute among others. Suzanne has delivered numerous presentations in Canada and internationally, developed an award winning continuing legal education program on children’s participation in justice processes, and annually lectures in the international human rights class at the University of Victoria’s Law School. She holds a B.A. (honors) and J.D. and carries on a legal practice in Victoria, BC where she lives with her husband and son as well as undertaking select child rights work that creates positive change with and for children.
In January 2017, we caught up with Associate Suzanne Williams in Victoria to reflect on the seeds she planted through IICRD’s justice-focused programs. These seeds, planted more than a decade ago, are now sprouting to advance child rights in Canada.