If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Thank you for contacting Rise!
We hope we can help you, but first, here is some important information. PLEASE READ.
We take your safety and security very seriously and do our best to ensure that all client information is protected. However, the digital world creates safety risks for everyone. Computer use can be monitored and hacked, people with access to passwords and synced devices may check your email, and it is often impossible to clear all data related to computer use.
If you are concerned about digital safety, please use a safe computer such as a public terminal at a library or a computer at a community organization and ensure that your passwords are secure. If you have concerns about using your email, please phone us or use the safe form on our website. Please do not use our “Request Help” form as this will send a confirmation message to your email account.
Who Rise Can Help
Rise is only able to provide services in family law matters, such as divorce, custody, protection orders, child support, spousal support, and other matters covered under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.
We may consider Humanitarian & Compassionate applications under some circumstances, but often clients are better served by organizations such as Immigration & Refugee Legal Centre or the Migrant Workers Centre whose focus is immigration-related matters.
Our substantive legal services are typically for clients who bring home less than:
- $45k for a single person
- $54k for a 2 person household
- $67k for a 3 person household
- $84k for a 4 person household
- $95K for a 5 person household
- $105k for a 6 person household, and
- $115k for a 7+ person household
These amounts are based on 200% of the federal low income cut-off guideline. We strive to be flexible and reasonable: we deduct expenses such as child care, and do not include Canada Child Benefits when considering eligible income.
Rise is not able to accept files concerning criminal defence, employment, wills & estates, or any other areas of law.
Who Will Assist You
Your first call with Rise will be to speak to our legal navigators who will learn about your matter and will help you decide on the best resources for your case – whether that means bringing you into a Rise program or referring you to another organisation that is better placed to help with your matter or timelines.
Rise can provide a range of services, including summary advice, limited unbundled legal services, and referrals to other organizations and depending on your issue you may receive assistance from law students, social work students, legal advocates, or summary advice from staff lawyers or volunteer lawyers. After assessing your individual situation, Rise will determine the type and level of assistance we are able to provide. All service decisions are made at Rise’s sole discretion.
If you would like information on finding a lawyer, please email [email protected] with the subject line “Information on finding a lawyer” and indicate if you have a legal aid certificate or if you are paying privately.
How to Request Service
To request service please complete our “Request Help” form. If you are concerned that someone else may access your email do not use this form and contact us either through our safe web form or voice mail and let us know the safest way to communicate with you.
For your matter to move forward you must complete the “Request Help” form. Once you complete the form and click SUBMIT, you will receive an automatic reply to the email address that you provide, with instructions on how to book an appointment to speak with a legal navigator by phone. (Please note: because Rise is a teaching clinic, your intake call may be conducted or shadowed by a social work practicum student under supervision.)
Booking an appointment to speak with a legal navigator may take a few weeks. If you need urgent help, we recommend contacting:
- Legal Aid BC, for legal advice or representation. They can be reached by phone at 604-408-2172 or 1-866-577-2525.
PLEASE NOTE: Legal Aid BC is the only service in British Columbia that provides free representation by lawyers in family law matters.
- A legal information outreach worker may also be able to provide legal information and resources on a wide range of legal issues, even for those not eligible for other Legal Aid BC services. You can contact them at 604-601-6166 or click here.
Please complete the intake form by clicking the button below.
The documents that follow are meant to provide general legal information only. They do not contain legal advice. If you or someone you care about requires legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.
Guidelines for Parenting During COVID-19Download
Understanding Section 211 Reports - EnglishDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - FrenchDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - ArabicDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - Chinese SimplifiedDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - Chinese TraditionalDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - FilipinoDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - KoreanDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - PersianDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - PunjabiDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - RussianDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - SpanishDownload
Understanding Section 211 Reports - VietnameseDownload
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What kind of legal problems can you help with?
We are currently only able to accept the following types of legal matters:
- family law matters such as divorce, custody, protection orders, child support, spousal support, etc.
- very limited immigration matters, mainly H&C applications
- poverty & equality law matters, such as notarizing documents, drafting documents for social assistance tribunals, drafting initial police complaints, and help with medical and government identification applications.
Is Rise the same as Legal Aid?
Rise is an independently operated community legal clinic and we are not connected with Legal Aid BC. If you need help applying for Legal Aid, or if you have been refused Legal Aid and would like to appeal, we may be able to assist you. Please complete the confidential request form.
Why does Rise only help women and gender diverse folks?
Research shows that when a domestic relationship breaks down, women and other marginalized genders are exponentially less likely to be able to afford private counsel, creating a disproportionate gap in access to family justice. Our clinic was developed to try to bridge that gap.
Rise has been approved as a special program by the BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, meaning that by limiting our services to self-identified women and gender diverse people, we are “improving conditions for an individual or group that has faced disadvantage.”
Will I be able to meet with a lawyer?
Rise Women’s Legal Centre offers a training program and externship for future family lawyers as part of their clinical legal education. Most of our legal services are delivered by upper-year UBC law students with family law education and training, and who are assisted and supervised on every file by our licensed in-house lawyers. We also offer remote services to people in other parts of BC via our Virtual Legal Clinic and partnering organizations in rural BC communities.
If you are receiving assistance from our student clinic, it’s unlikely that you will meet with a lawyer at any point, but lawyers will be overseeing your file at every step. Although we are a teaching clinic, we operate much the same as any other law office, and are bound by the same responsibilities and obligations that guide all members of the legal profession.
If you are outside the lower mainland and receiving remote services through one of our Virtual Legal Clinic community partner organizations, it’s possible that you may meet with a lawyer over the phone or via teleconference.
Do you charge for your services?
We do not charge for Rise services; however, some of our programs have financial limitations to the services. This will be assessed and discussed at your triage and navigation appointment.
I have a court appearance/mediation/conference in a few days/next week. Can you represent me?
We would want to be as prepared as possible if we were to represent you in any proceedings, and so we are unable to appear on very short notice. However, we urge you to fill out our request form and email [email protected] for one of our triage and navigation staff to possibly help with referrals or legal information to assist you with your upcoming date
When I come to the clinic, is there designated parking available?
Rise does not have any designated parking, but there are several parking garages and metered street parking nearby. If you will be driving, please leave yourself enough time to find parking in the neighbourhood.
I live in [another part of BC, outside the lower mainland], can you still help me?
Absolutely. We are available to meet with you by phone or teleconference. Unfortunately, we are not able to represent you in person outside of Vancouver, but we will do what we can through phone, email and video conference.
I have a matter before the courts in [a jurisdiction outside BC]. Can you help me?
Sorry, no. Our lawyers are not licensed to practise outside of BC, and it is against Law Society rules for any lawyer to offer advice or assistance on a file that’s being heard outside the jurisdiction in which that lawyer is licensed.
Are you part of Legal Aid?
No, we are not affiliated with Legal Aid BC. We are a separate independent organization.
I already have a legal aid lawyer, but I want extra help/a second opinion.
We are unable to assist clients who are currently receiving Legal Aid or any other legal representation.
However, if your file has reached its billing limit with Legal Aid, or if you no longer qualify for assistance due to income/assets, we may be able to help. Please call or email us at 236-317-9000 or [email protected] and we’ll see if we can assist.
Legal Aid turned me down/I ran out of hours - can you help?
- applied for Legal Aid and were turned down, or
- had Legal Aid previously and your file has reached its billing limit, or
- no longer qualify for assistance due to income/assets
we may be able to help. Please call or email us at 236-317-9000 or [email protected] and we’ll see if we can assist.
Is it okay if I just come by and talk to someone? I don’t want to make an appointment. Can I just talk to a lawyer quickly on the phone?
Sorry, we are unable to accommodate drop-in service at this time, either in person or on the phone. Like any law office, we want to serve you to the best of our ability, and so we need to set aside sufficient time and resources to give your matter its proper attention.
My matter is urgent and I need to talk to someone right away.
Although we are not a crisis organization, we can occasionally see individuals outside our regular service model.
Some emergencies circumstances might be:
- women whose physical safety, or that of their children, is in immediate danger;
- women whose family home or another significant joint asset is at risk of being sold without their consent;
- women who have had a threat of abduction made against them or their children; and
- possibly one or two other very limited circumstances, at our discretion.
We know that most legal problems are difficult and stressful. As much as we understand and sympathise, we are not a crisis organization and our ability to respond quickly in an emergency is limited by our small clinic and staff, and the availability of student clinicians.
However, our case manager has a social work background and many years of experience helping women in crisis in the community. She may be able to help you find information and alternate resources quicker than you might otherwise. Please complete the request for an appointment here, and then email the case manager at [email protected] to bring your request to her immediate attention.
Do you offer appointments outside your regular business hours?
Yes, in limited circumstances and if necessary. Please mention that you need an after-hours appointment in the section of our request form where we ask you about what accommodations you need to access our services, or let our case manager know when you speak to her.
Can I bring my children?
Children are welcome at Rise. We have a relaxing space with stuffies, toys and books where your older children may wait for you, and you are welcome to have your infant or toddler in the room with you while you speak to your legal advisor.
I have a feeling I’m being monitored online. How can I use my devices in a safer way?
There is no guarantee that any of us aren’t being monitored online. However, there is a greater risk of being monitored online when women are leaving abusive relationships. What you can do is be aware of your online presence so that you can make safer decisions about your online activities. Your online use can be monitored in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:
- Looking up internet browser history, email accounts, and social media accounts;
- searching cell phones and other devices;
- sharing accounts such as iCloud;
- hacking of passwords; and
- monitoring through software such as spyware, and hardware such as keystroke loggers.
Internet Safety – Start by deleting your web browser history. Some web browsers will let you surf the web in privacy/stealth and incognito modes. Check if these modes are available in the web browsers you’re using.
- Always use a safer computer when you’re communicating with friends and family about your private plans, searching, setting up appointments and communicating with support services and setting up new accounts and passwords. Safer computers can be found in public libraries, schools, community centres, support service offices or even at a trusted friend’s house.
- Check your settings to see if your accounts are linked and shared between devices such as a smartphone and tablet as information which is sent from your phone when you are out in the world may be accessible from the tablet at home.
Email – Your (ex)partner could have access to your email account.
- To be safe, open a new email account your partner does not know about, on a safer computer and use a new and hard to guess password.
- Also, try NOT to “click” on the email addresses on web pages as your email and the reply you receive may go to an (ex)partner’s account.
- Always copy and paste an email address into the account you own that you know the (ex)partner doesn’t have access to or use webforms to send messages where available.
Cell Phone – Call and text history can be retrieved in a variety of ways and your cell phone can be used as a tracking device.
- Turn off location services on your phone when you don’t need them. Also, check your shared family and friends location settings or any location apps that may have been downloaded on your phone.
- You can consider a pay-as-you-go phone if you suspect your phone is being monitored.
Social Media – Change your password and ensure you’re notified if any changes are made to your account through options in your settings.
- Only post things you want the public to see or know.
- Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and information like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer, and photos with landmarks or location tags may make it easier for someone to find out where you live, hang out or go to school.
- Tell people not to post your personal information or include you in comments, tags and check-ins on social media. Set your settings to options like having to “approve” all information about you before they are posted on your page. Remember this doesn’t stop information about you being shared on other people’s accounts, just your own.
Maintain Appearances – If you are being monitored and concerned for your safety, consider continuing to maintain appearances by using your computer, email, cell phone, and social media for non-sensitive information. Consider setting up an appointment with a local anti-violence program to safety plan around your technology use.
Please see http://nnedv.org/resources/safetynetdocs.html for more information on technology and safety.