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PRESS RELEASE Oshawa, Ontario – Luke’s Place is pleased to announce that the Law Society of Ontario has recognized our Legal Director, Pamela Cross, as the 2019 Laura Legge Award recipient.

“It is an honour to have been selected for this award,” says Cross.

The work I do is inspired by the countless women in this country who are subjected to misogynist violence and abuse and have the courage to say ‘no more’. It is made possible by the frontline workers who provide tireless support to those women. These are the voices we need to listen to if we are to change the law from a weapon used against women into a tool women can use to empower themselves.

The Law Society recognizes legal professionals for their exceptional contributions and achievements. The Laura Legge Award is presented to a woman lawyer in Ontario who exemplifies leadership in the legal profession.

The Law Society provides this description of Cross:

Called to the Bar in 1994, Pamela Cross has demonstrated extraordinary achievement and leadership in the advancement of women’s equality in Canada. For over 25 years, Ms. Cross has worked tirelessly as a lawyer, researcher, teacher, writer, public speaker, mentor, trainer and activist, to explain and challenge how the law addresses individualized and systemic violence against girls and women, especially in the family law context.

Cross joined Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children as a legal consultant providing insight on family law, family court and violence against women. Her first research project with Luke’s Place, Through the Looking Glass, published in 2008, established our organization as a provincial leader and validated the need for our pro bono clinic in Durham Region for women fleeing abuse and involved in family court.

In 2009, we were delighted when Cross agreed to lead our Legal Program. Since then, on behalf of Luke’s Place, she trains Ontario’s Family Court Support Workers and Legal Aid Ontario’s lawyers and staff. She also worked as part of the team to develop our Virtual Legal Clinic for women in northern and rural communities, to conduct research on family violence screening tools for family law practitioners, and to build and launch an online course for lawyers on working with clients leaving abusive relationships. She was the Chair of Ontario’s Violence Against Women Roundtable and a witness before the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights Standing Committee on Bill C-78, which proposes changes to the Divorce Act.

Cross collaborates with many nonprofits throughout Canada, including the National Association of Women and the Law, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, RISE Women’s Legal Clinic, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and Community Legal Education Ontario. She has also designed and delivered trainings for Ontario law schools and the National Judicial Institute.

Like Laura Legge, Pamela Cross is a leader for legal justice and fairness.

The award will be presented to Cross at the Law Society Awards ceremony on May 22, 2019, at Osgoode Hall, Toronto.