Legal Services and Advocacy Program at BWSS
Access to Justice, An Intersectional Approach
For 40 years, BWSS has provided legal advocacy for women survivors of violence. We receive over 11,000 requests for services annually; over 80% of these requests identify at least one legal issue which requires BWSS to provide legal information or to take legal action.
Wherever gender violence intersects with the law, access to justice in the Canadian legal system is a complicated task for survivors. In order to ensure the legal systems provide social protection survivors have a better result when they have a benefit of a legal advocate or a lawyer.
At BWSS we have both a Legal Advocate and a Lawyer, and we are thrilled to announce Sharon Kearney as Manager, Legal Services and Advocacy Program.
Sharon comes to BWSS with over 30 years of legal experience in administrative law, with a special focus on human rights issues. Sharon has worked in the private sector with two large national law firms, and in the public sector with the provincial government.
Sharon also had the honour of serving as Vice Chair (Adjudication) with the BC Labour Relations Board. With years of supervisory experience, Sharon has supported teams of lawyers, outside counsel, administrative assistants and paralegals.
As seasoned counsel, Sharon has litigated a multitude of arbitration and human rights hearings, and has advised on numerous cases before the BC Supreme Court, the BC Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. As an adjudicator, Sharon has authored hundreds of decisions and settlement agreements. Sharon’s legal work has also included drafting policy and law reform. Sharon is also a trained educator and creates curriculum, delivers courses and workshops on Administrative Justice.
Legal systems are complex and justice can be elusive for women. The Legal Services and Advocacy Program (LSAP) at BWSS helps support trans/women and femmes through the legal process. BWSS legal services and advocacy work spans family, immigration, refugee, and criminal law.
Access to justice and our Legal Services and Advocacy Program are key for long term safety and freedom from violence.