On November 25th we acknowledge the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the first day of 16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women around the world.
At Luke’s Place, with your support, we work tirelessly to eliminate violence against women by increasing their access to justice. Below, we explore what we are doing to build a culture of safety for women and their children.
She faces psychological violence at home. Her partner controls her financially and seeks to harm her children. She may be experiencing physical violence. She is isolated from the support of family and friends. She is a racialized newcomer to Canada. She has limited access to financial resources. Despite their differences, what every woman we serve has in common is that she is about to navigate the Ontario legal system while she enters into the most lethal time of her life: the process of leaving an abuser.
Our Legal Support Workers empower women to navigate the family law system as safely as possible by supporting her:
- to present evidence of abuse in court
- to develop a comprehensive safety plan
- by accompanying her to court/legal appointments
- to gain the tools to regain control
She turns to a social worker. She finds a few precious minutes alone to look up information on a search engine. She confides in a friend, a lawyer, a counselor or a community service worker.
A safer community means taking away that sense of isolation. By providing critical training to advocates within communities across Canada to understand intimate partner violence and family law, we help ensure more women have access to services that better understand their complex needs.
Her safety plan is in place. She’s consulted with a lawyer. She’s worked through a parenting plan and understands what to expect during the legal process. But how well is the legal process working for her?
We advocate with at all levels of government, legal stakeholders and partner organizations to help ensure safe and equitable legal outcomes for women experiencing abuse. We make sure women are recognized as survivors of gender-based violence before they enter the courtroom.
After a long and demanding process, she’s ready to move forward and start a new chapter for herself and her children. Her experiences in the legal system (the barriers to safety and justice she overcame) are now making a difference in the lives of others who experience abuse and are about to embark on their own path toward safety.
A culture of safety means learning from the experiences of survivors and accumulating a bank of knowledge to help make positive changes in the legal system and in the lives of women and their children. We support and engage in vital research to pave the way for a safer Ontario.