Legal Advocacy

Violence Against Women and The Law

The Legal Advocacy Program at BWSS provides support, advocacy, information and accompaniment to women who have experienced violence and who are involved in the legal system. We also provide advocacy with other systems, including social assistance and child protection. The BWSS Legal Advocate is not a lawyer and does not give legal advice.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 604-687-1867 (we accept collect calls) or email legaladvocacy@bwss.org

General services

  • Legal information and support over the telephone or in person
  • Court accompaniments in the Metro Vancouver area
  • Information and help with complaints related to the legal system
  • Workshops for women who are representing themselves in court
  • Referrals to volunteer lawyers who provide legal advice on a limited basis

Criminal law services

  • Assistance with police reports
  • Preparation and accompaniment for criminal court
  • Advocacy with police, Crown or other members of the criminal justice system
  • Help with legal forms, including Crime Victim Assistance applications and victim impact statements

Civil law services

  • Information, support and advocacy with civil law issues including family law
  • Referrals to lawyers
  • Preparation and accompaniment for civil court
  • Advocacy with lawyers or other members of the civil legal system
  • Help with forms, including Criminal Injury Compensation

Advocacy with other systems

  • Information and support related to child protection issues
  • Information and support related to social assistance and/or disability benefits issues
  • Referrals to appropriate services and agencies

Training for service providers

  • Workshops on legal advocacy skills and emerging issues in the field

Goals of the Legal Advocacy Program

  • To ensure that the issue of violence against women is taken into consideration throughout the entire legal process
  • To work towards ensuring that the legal system is accountable to women, by advocating with police, lawyers and others who work within the legal system
  • To improve legal responses to women who have experienced abuse in intimate relationships
  • To lobby for the right of women to have accessible legal representation throughout their legal proceedings
  • To lobby for the right of women to have adequate and secure social assistance

BWSS Legal Advocacy Program is funded The Law Foundation of BC and The Notaries Foundation of BC.

Violence Against Women and The Law

Women who experience violence in their intimate relationships are often navigating several areas of the law simultaneously.

  • Indigenous Law
  • The Indian Act
  • Criminal Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Family Law
  • Civil Law
  • Child Protection Law

At Battered Women’s Support Services we provide legal advocacy to assist women to navigate through the legal systems, by assisting women identify legal issues, prioritize legal needs, choose realistic, fair, and legal solutions, providing information on process, legislation, and the role of different players, assisting women to access lawyers or pro bono legal advice, assisting women strategize to build their case and assisting women tips for their own legal research and self advocacy.

The virtual elimination of legal aid in British Columbia and complicated acceptance process has meant the more and more women are having to self represent in civil and family law cases. Additionally, with the increases in women being arrested for allegedly perpetrating domestic violence against their partners has meant women are more and more in need of legal information, support and advocacy.

At Battered Women’s Support Services we are continuing to provide that information, support and advocacy while seeking systemic change through policy and systemic advocacy.

To reach an advocate call 604-687-1867