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I'm being abused or have experienced abuse. Where can I find legal support during COVID-19?

Question
I'm being abused or have experienced abuse. Where can I find legal support during COVID-19?

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I'm being abused or have experienced abuse. Where can I find legal support during COVID-19?
Reviewed: 
April 8, 2020
Answer

Spending a lot of time at home with an abusive partner is hard and can be dangerous for you and others at home.

If you or someone you know is in immediate dangeryou can call the police on 911.

If you’re in an abusive situation but not in immediate danger, learn how to keep safe and where to go for help.

If you’re living in a women’s shelter, shelter staff will have up-to-date information about where you can get legal support in your community.

If you’re wondering what your legal options are or if you have an existing court case related to domestic abuse, there is free legal support available:

Luke’s Place

If you’re a woman dealing with abuse and want legal support on domestic violence and family law, the Luke’s Place Virtual Legal Clinic can help. They arrange for you to get legal advice from a lawyer by video conference or phone. This is available to anyone living in Ontario. There is no fee and it doesn’t matter what your income is. Call 905-728-0978 x 221 or 1-866-516-3116, or visit their website for more information.

Luke’s Place regularly updates their website about Ontario’s family court operations and court decisions on custody and access during COVID-19.

Emergency family law referral telephone line

You can call the Law Society of Ontario’s temporary emergency family law referral telephone line if you have a family law issue and you:

  • don’t have a lawyer
  • don’t know if your issue is urgent or not
  • don’t know your next steps if your matter is urgent

The courts are closed except for urgent matters. An urgent matter includes situations where a person’s safety is at risk. If this is your situation, the referral service will help you get 30 minutes of free legal advice and information from a family law lawyer. Call 416-947-3310 or 1-800-268-7568.

Barbra Schlifer

If you live in Toronto, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic offers family legal services and support to women who are in abusive relationships or have left one. Immigration law help is available to women outside Toronto. Call 416-323-9149 x 234 or visit their website to make an appointment.

Barbra Schlifer also offers free interpreter services 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. And they have a Family Court Support Worker Program (FCSWP). For other services and supports, visit their website.

Family Court Support Workers

Family Court Support Workers (FCSW) offer support and help to victims of domestic violence who are involved in a family court case. Their help includes safety planning, collecting evidence, preparing court documents, and going to court. If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, have a family court case, and you’re not already working with a FCSW, think about connecting with one in your community.

Legal Aid Ontario

You can get summary legal advice over the phone from Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) at 1-800-668-8258 or, in Toronto, at 416-979-1446. Because of COVID-19, anyone can use this service to get legal advice and information at this time. It doesn’t matter what your income is. LAO’s goal is to have a lawyer respond to every family question it gets within 48 hours or less.

Developed by Luke’s Place.

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