This project compiled community-based legal information and services for women across BC, seeking to make these services more accessible (and known to the public), and to identify where gaps in service exist.
Why this project?
In the current climate of diminishing legal aid, access to information is limited and sharing legal resources is more critical for women than ever before. The goal of this project was to facilitate women’s access to community-based legal information and services, particularly in the area of family law. The project ultimately consisted of two parts.
What we did
Part 1: In 2009, we surveyed service providers across BC who were providing women community-based legal information and services. We wrote our first report in 2010 based on these findings.
Part 2: Our survey findings indicated a significant gap in responses from Aboriginal organizations and centres, which highlighted a need to respectfully engage with Aboriginal communities and seek consultations from Friendship Centers across the province in order to gain feedback on our survey and adapt our processes and tools.
We recruited an Aboriginal student from the Native Education Centre to assist in capturing a snapshot of community-based legal resources, specifically in family law for Aboriginal women in British Columbia. We engaged in a sensitive consultative process with Aboriginal organizations in mapping the legal resources specific to family law, with an acknowledgement of socio/economic and political reality for Aboriginal people.
The second stage of the project had three goals:
- To identify legal (family law related) resources that are being commonly used by Aboriginal women-serving organizations and document any barriers in accessing those resources.
- To raise awareness around culturally appropriate resources and their accessibility.
- To improve and enhance collaboration between West Coast LEAF and Aboriginal serving organizations across BC and facilitate sharing of information.