Luke’s Place has been recognized with the 2020-21 Victim Services Award of Distinction by the Ministry of the Attorney General for the expansion of its innovative Virtual Legal Clinic in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the third time that Luke’s Place has been honoured with this award; we were also acknowledged in 2008 and 2014.
The Attorney General’s Victim Services Awards of Distinction recognizes the dedication and creativity of professionals and volunteers who serve victims, and the courageous efforts of individuals who have been personally impacted by crime and are now working to raise the profile of victims’ issues in Ontario, including in Indigenous, northern, and rural communities.
“We are so honoured to have been nominated by Frankie Wood, Partner at Wood Gold LLP, and selected for this award by the Ministry of the Attorney General,” said Executive Director Carol Barkwell. “This spotlight on the Luke’s Place Virtual Legal Clinic is a spotlight on all the lawyers who volunteer their services as well as our staff and the service providers across the province who have worked so hard during the pandemic to make sure abuse survivors have access to legal services.”
Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Luke’s Place Virtual Legal Clinic connects woman abuse survivors to family law lawyers via video-conferencing for summary legal advice. Women receive practical and emotional support throughout the process by Legal Support Workers. Launched in 2016, the clinic was first designed for women in rural and remote communities. The need to expand the clinic became evident with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last March and the closing of family court services.
“We opened our doors to women anywhere in the province in April 2020,” said Barkwell. “I am very proud of the Luke’s Place team for their dedication in providing a vital legal service for women who have experienced abuse in their relationship, particularly for women outside of major urban centres who face additional access to justice challenges.”