Family Law is the Most Significant Unmet Legal Need in BC
The amount of legal aid available for family law matters in BC has been drastically cut since 2002. Today legal aid representation in family law cases is only available where there is actual or threatened family violence, or to resolve the serious denial of access to children – even for people whose low income would otherwise make them eligible for assistance. Even when women do qualify for legal aid, they may not receive enough time with a lawyer to resolve all of their outstanding legal issues.
The Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, in a recently published report, states that BC’s justice system requires attention now to avert a growing crisis. It calls for adequate funding for family law services which were eliminated in 2002, including issues of divorce, child access and custody, financial support and asset division. They note that 71 per cent of people who would financially qualify for such services are women.
Women are often left to represent themselves when trying to resolve important issues related to their family, home, and financial security.
WHO WE HELP
The crisis in public legal services for family law in BC continues to have an especially heavy impact on women. Women are less likely than men to be able to afford a lawyer and more likely to have their safety at risk. A woman’s capacity to be independent often depends on her ability to resolve disputes over spousal support, child custody and property division. Access to justice is an issue that impacts women’s equality, and women’s safety.
HOW WE HELP
Our service model is intended to complement and work closely with existing community services – while also providing a service unlike any other in BC. We rely on donations to help us to continue to strengthen our services and facilitate access to justice for women.
We help in three ways:
Providing legal advice and representation to women who have no other means of getting legal help.
Creating opportunities for law students to learn how to deliver community based legal services and carry forward a commitment to providing access to justice and family law services in their legal careers.
Identifying cases that have the potential to advance women’s legal rights at a systemic level.
How to Donate
Rise Women’s Legal Centre is a registered charity. You can make a donation through our Canada Helps Webpage.
Donations can also be mailed to:
Rise Women’s Legal Centre
#201 – 456 West Broadway Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1R3
Our Current Funders
West Coast LEAF is the first and only organization in BC dedicated to promoting gender equality through the law. West Coast LEAF exposes and works to end discriminatory laws, policies and practices to create a more just society, and educates youth and adults about their legal rights and responsibilities through a social justice lens. Based in Vancouver on Unceded Coast Salish Territories and focused on issues in BC, West Coast LEAF promotes substantive equality for women and girls in the courts, in the legislature and in schools. Rather than treating everyone the same, substantive equality is an approach that recognizes and celebrates differences and ensures that historically disadvantaged people can actively participate in society and access justice.
The remainder of our core funding during our three year pilot is provided by an anonymous donor.
Rise offers our sincere gratitude to all who have supported our clinic, and would like to specifically acknowledge our Sustaining Circle. The following donors have pledged their support to Rise by committing to an ongoing annual contribution, which strengthens our financial foundation and helps to ensure Rise’s future.
Nancy Bradshaw and Robert Brown
The Honourable Kirsti Gill
Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP
Morag MacLeod QC
The Honourable Donna Martinson
Sharon Matthews QC
We also thank those generous Sustaining Circle supporters who have requested anonymity.
We have also been fortunate to receive generous contributions from dedicated members of the community, including financial donations, in-kind donations, and hundreds of volunteer hours. All contributions play an important role in building a clinic and a community dedicated to ensuring women receive better access to justice.
Rise offers our sincere gratitude to all those who have supported our clinic, which helps strengthen our financial foundation, to ensure Rise’s future.
We have been fortunate to receive generous contributions from dedicated members of the community, including financial donations, in-kind donations, and hundreds of volunteer hours. All contributions have played an important role in building a clinic and a community dedicated to ensuring women receive better access to justice.