Women who have experienced violence often struggle to navigate our complex family law system, secure a protection order or peace bond, or appear as a witness in criminal proceedings. This can result in additional financial burdens that are doubly problematic because separation has a profound impact on many women’s economic security.

Those are some of the reasons West Coast LEAF launched the Jane Doe Legal Advice Clinic to provide legal support and advice in a non-judgmental and empowering way. Our lawyer, Salima Samnani, offered free legal advice appointments twice a month to women survivors of violence with child welfare and family law issues. For inquiries regarding the Jane Doe Legal Advice Clinic, please contact Shahnaz Rahman at 604-684-8772 Ext 123.

Services that were provided by the Jane Doe Legal Advice Clinic are now offered instead by Rise Women’s Legal Centre, a full-service family law clinic for women operated by West Coast LEAF and UBC’s Allard School of LawWest Coast LEAF is proud that women facing family law challenges can now access a broader range of legal services and supports thanks to Rise.

Contact information for Rise Women’s Legal Centre:



#201-456 West Broadway

Vancouver, BC V5Y 1R3



Our beliefs
  • Everyone has the right to live free from violence or abuse. Therefore, we at West Coast LEAF are working toward a justice system that promotes the rights of all women to live a life free from violence, abuse, and discrimination.
  • Improving women’s access to the justice system is an important piece of the broader struggle for social, political, and economic equality.
  • Legal services should be provided in a non-judgmental and supportive way to empower women to make informed choices for themselves and their children.


Why “Jane Doe”?

The name Jane Doe is used in legal proceedings as a placeholder name to represent an anonymous or unknown woman. We adopted this name to highlight three issues:

  • Violence against women happens in all types of relationships, in all cultural and socio-economic groups, and at all ages.
  • Violence against women is a societal problem rather than a personal issue.
  • The name Jane Doe signifies our commitment to ensure that women who have experienced violence have access to confidential legal support.


Funding for this project generously provided by

Canadian Women's Foundation Logo