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Understanding and accessing the law

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Four organizations providing law resources for women

Courtesy of Gabrielle Henderson

For women, finding legal resources that can cater to their specific needs is crucial.

According to the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, women face poverty and pay inequality at much higher rates than men, making engaging with the legal system financially challenging, especially for single, low-income women.

Even when women can afford legal assistance, the matters they face are typically unique to their gender. Given that women face higher rates of violent victimization compared to men, their legal issues might include domestic abuse, sexual assault, restraining orders, winning custody, etc.

It can be difficult for women affected by these kinds of issues to access help and resources, though many exist.

The organizations listed below help women understand their legal rights so they can be more informed when dealing with legal matters. The resources are not substitutes for legal advice; however, they provide information on topics such as family law, leaving abusive situations or even legal aid. 

Courtesy of Jordan Whitt

Family Law Education for Women

Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) is an Ontario public educational project helping Ontario women understand their legal rights in family law.

The project is made up of seven community and women’s agencies that originally worked together to win all women in Ontario the right to access public family law.

FLEW provides legal information to marginalized, isolated and vulnerable women and their children who may be experiencing domestic violence. 

They also educate women about family law rights and responsibilities.

The organization has accessible resources for those who are hearing impaired and for individuals with low literacy rates, with all resources available in 14 languages.

Ontario Women’s Justice Network

Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN) is an Ontario-based legal information website created by the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women (METRAC), an organization working to end violence against women and youth. 

OWJN’s objective is to help women impacted by gender-based violence understand their legal rights. 

Their website, provides information about family law, criminal law, and immigration and refugee law. The organization also publishes articles about women’s justice and resources for women dealing with domestic abuse.

WomenatthecentrE

WomenatthecentrE (also known as Women’s Centre for Social Justice) is an Ontario non-profit organization created by survivors of gender-based violence. 

WomenatthecentrE aims to stop gender-based violence against women-identifying people through advocacy, services and initiatives. 

The organization has a program called the Transformative Justice Initiative which aims to provide an alternative model of justice for sexual violence. This entails gathering research and listening to survivors of sexual assault to inform the development of new legal practices.

Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund

Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) is a Toronto-based organization that provides legal expertise on cases both nationally and internationally, including at the Canadian Supreme Court. 

Their cases include reproductive justice, Indigenous rights, hate speech, sexual assault, family law and gender-based violence

The organization hosts workshops, training, seminars and events. LEAF also offers volunteer-run LEAF Branches in different cities in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. 

Recently they compiled a report aimed at holding digital platforms that exploit and abuse women and girls accountable.

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