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Hot off the press: Relationship abuse fact sheets now available in print in Farsi (Persian)

Live Safe - End Abuse

liveSafeEndAbuseSeven fact sheets in the Live Safe — End Abuse series are now available in print in Farsi (Persian). The fact sheets cover 11 topics to inform readers about relationship abuse (family violence). We identified seven topics that would be most helpful to someone dealing with family violence. These seven fact sheets are also available in Chinese (simplified and traditional), Punjabi, and Spanish.

  • Getting Help from the Police or RCMP explains the right to call police in abusive situations, how police can help, and what happens when police arrest an abuser.
  • If Your Sponsor Abuses You describes what newcomers (immigrants) to Canada can do if abused by their sponsors or when leaving an abusive relationship.
  • Parenting explains what the terms guardian, parenting time, parental responsibilities, and contact with a child mean under the BC Family Law Act, and describes parenting orders and limits on parenting.
  • Protection Orders explains peace bonds, no contact orders, and family law protection orders, and how to apply for them.
  • Safety Planning gives details about how to make a safety plan for use at home, outside the home, and after leaving an abusive relationship.
  • The Criminal Court Process describes what happens when an abuser faces criminal charges, what it means to be a court witness, what happens at trial, and possible sentences.
  • What Is Abuse? explains that abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, financial, or sexual, and that certain types of abuse are crimes.

All the fact sheets list community support services and legal resources. See Abuse & family violence for all the fact sheets in this series.

All fact sheets in this series are folded for display in brochure racks.

How an afternoon with advocates made me understand Luddites

Safety Net Canada

SafetyNetCanada_green7Every fall we hold our Provincial Advocates Conference, which trains advocates from all around the province on legal issues.

Day one of the training was just for our community partners and I had a chance spend the day with them. Community partners are organizations across BC – in 24 communities right now – that work with people who may need legal aid. As part of their day-to-day jobs, they deal with people who need legal aid or who could use our resources, so we make sure that they are trained, up-to-date, and ready to point those people in our direction.

Part of the day was spent updating all of these advocates on legal aid services and resources: updates to our websites, new publications, ways of sharing information, and more. By request, the rest of the day was spent on a really interesting, and kind of scary, presentation by BC Society of Transition Houses’ Safety Net Canada Project on the (mis)use of technology and violence against women. Many of our community partners work often support women and their children leaving abusive relationships and in recent years technology has been used more and more for harassment and stalking.

I deal with technology and the online world all the time. In fact it’s most of what I do at LSS. But some of the stuff that was brought up in that presentation absolutely floored me. I mean, I know that digital photos can contain location data about where they were taken, or that spyware can record what you type, or that you can disguise your phone number as someone else’s, but the implications of what that could mean for someone fleeing an abusive relationship never really crossed my mind. Some of it never even occurred to me; for example, I hate email forms – those text boxes that some sites make you fill out rather than just giving you an email address – but someone brought up that using them means that email addresses, say for a women’s shelter, doesn’t get stored in the address book or your email isn’t sitting in the sent folder. Two very real issues if someone is trying to track your online communications.

It’s pretty sobering, really, and I find it all a bit striking that people like our community partners have to think about this stuff every day at their jobs. I don’t want to fear monger though. The session wasn’t just about the dangers of technology. It was also about mitigating those dangers to protect yourself, and using technology to your advantage. While I don’t think I’ll be deleting my Twitter account any time soon, I can definitely start to see where Luddites are coming from.

I can’t speak for our community partners, but I had an eye opening afternoon that day. If the last three days were as interesting as the first, then I think everyone will walk away prepared to do a better job helping and advocating for their clients.

–Nate Prosser, Online Outreach Coordinator at LSS

Hot off the press: Our series on the new Family Law Act is now in booklet form!

As soon as the new BC Family Law Act was announced last year, there were questions. What’s new in the act? When does it come into effect? If I’m in the middle of applying for a court order, does it change anything? We were asking these questions, and so were many of you.

That’s why, beginning last February, with JP Boyd’s help, we began running a series of ELAN entries about the new law. After 8 months and 17 different entries, we’ve finally wrapped up the series.

For your convenience, we’ve combined all the entries into a single booklet, the Guide to the New BC Family Law Act. The booklet is now available for download as a pdf and will be available in print from Crown Publications by the end of this month.

In the coming months, we’ll be following up with more information and training on the Family Law Act. Stay tuned!

Hot off the press: Relationship abuse fact sheets now available online in five more languages

Three fact sheets in the Live Safe — End Abuse series are now available online in Chinese (simplified and traditional), Farsi, Punjabi, and Spanish. The series is designed to inform and educate readers about relationship abuse (domestic violence), and covers 11 topics.

We identified three topics that would be of most help to someone who is dealing with domestic violence.

  • Getting Help from the Police or RCMP explains the right to call police in abusive situations, how police can help, and what happens when an abuser is arrested.
  • Safety Planning gives details about how to make a safety plan for use at home, outside the home, and after leaving an abusive relationship.
  • The Criminal Court Process describes what happens when an abuser faces criminal charges, what it means to be a trial witness, what happens at trial, and possible sentences.

All the fact sheets list community support services and legal resources for more help (phone numbers, websites, and publications). See Abuse & family violence for a complete list of all the fact sheets in this series.

The new versions are available online only.

Hot off the press: Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse now available in French

Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse is now available online only in French.

This booklet outlines what abuse is from a legal perspective and what a woman’s legal rights are if she is in an abusive relationship. It also explains what women can do to protect themselves and their children, and who can help. This French version includes a chapter about violence against Aboriginal women in relationships and lists resources available to them. The booklet is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese, English, Punjabi, and Spanish.

Hot off the press: Two relationship violence fact sheets now available in print

Women Abused by Their Partners

Men Abused by Their Partners

These two facts sheets are part of the Live Safe — End Abuse series. LSS first developed these fact sheets as gender-neutral tools to help those who experience relationship abuse. Feedback from the community told us that the nature of abuse for women and men was different enough to warrant a specific fact sheet for each gender. We spoke to women’s and men’s support groups to better understand these differences and develop appropriate fact sheets.

Women Abused by Their Partners focuses on information for women who are abused by their male partners. To provide meaningful information, we met with organizations that support women who have experienced abuse. The information about why a woman may stay in an abusive relationship is gender specific; the community resources include places where women can feel safe and get support.

Men Abused by Their Partners is a fact sheet for men abused by their female partners. We sent out a survey to over 15 organizations that provide support services for men and families in BC. The thoughtful feedback we received confirmed that the fact sheet is a good starting point to educate both victims of abuse and the public that this abuse does exist and that victims are not alone. We also added contact information for specific organizations that can support men who have been abused. The Nanaimo Men’s Resources Centre commented that they are “… very encouraged by your project and think that it will add an important piece to the education needed by society about domestic violence.”

We are currently working with Qmunity on developing resources for lesbian, gay, transgendered, and bisexual victims of relationship violence.

These new fact sheets are a result of the generous input of passionate stakeholders in the community. We welcome your continued feedback to publications@lss.bc.ca.

Hot off the press: Four translations of Sponsorship Breakdown

Sponsorship Breakdown

The most recent English version of this booklet is now available in Spanish, Punjabi, traditional Chinese, and, for the first time, simplified Chinese.

Sponsorship Breakdown is for permanent residents who need help when the person sponsoring them in Canada stops supporting them. It explains what will (and will not) happen, how to apply for social assistance (welfare), and it provides contact information for community groups around BC.

These new versions are all available in print and online.

Hot off the press: Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse

Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse (English)

This booklet has just been reprinted with minor revisions, including updates to Chapter 10: Who can help you?. This English version includes information and resources for Aboriginal women who have been victimized by relationship violence. The booklet is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese, Punjabi, and Spanish. The French version is coming soon.

Hot off the press: Is Your Client Safe?

Is Your Client Safe? A Lawyer’s Guide to Relationship Violence

This new brochure about relationship violence for family law lawyers and advocates was co-published with the Ending Violence Association of BC. It describes relationship violence, the indicators of abuse, and the risk factors. It explains what to do if your client has been victimized, and includes safety planning information, links to resources, and where to get help.

Also see the related fact sheet series Is Your Client Safe? The fact sheets cover the following topics:

  • Encouraging Disclosure
  • Relationship Violence Client Resources
  • Relationship Violence Legal Resources
  • Safety Planning for You and Your Staff
  • Safety Planning for Your Client

Reply to Open Letter to LSS

LSS received an open letter in response to one of ten fact sheets in our award-winning Live Safe End Abuse series, an information sheet for men abused by their female partners. Although written in gender-neutral language, the balance of the fact sheets are intended to meet the needs of abused women. Concerns had been brought to LSS in the past regarding the exclusive focus of our Legal Information for Battered Women series and the Live Safe End Abuse series was intended to address those concerns. We agree with feedback that it would be appropriate to address abuse of a woman by her male partner with gender-specific language, particularly as we have addressed the issue of men’s abuse by women. Accordingly, we have now posted a fact sheet with gender-specific language for women abused by men.

As to our publishing priorities, we are aware of the scarcity of resources and take care to avoid duplication of public legal information. In planning the scope of the Live Safe End Abuse series, we were informed by our Report on a Community Review of LSS Publications on Violence against Women in Relationships, available on our website.  Somewhat surprisingly, considering the topic was violence against women, the need for a publication for men abused by women emerged.  The report also flagged a need for information regarding abuse for the LGBT community. During our follow-up research, we found no BC publications for men abused by women, but did find resources for the LGBT community. Rather than duplicate information, we linked to the EVA website which has a compilation of resources. The issue uncovered in our Report seemed to reflect a lack of awareness of existing resources rather than an absence of resources. To further improve accessibility, we added additional links to EVA’s site, and worked with Qmunity, adding direct links to their website and Abuse in Same Sex Relationships and Transgender People and Relationship Abuse publications.  We are committed to continued work with community agencies to identify and fill gaps in public legal information.

Our fact sheet for men was, and is, consistent with government-produced Canadian public information on the topic. The men’s publication has been well received by victim serving agencies that work with this demographic. The appreciation expressed and the demand for this information confirms LSS is on the correct track in providing it. However, concern was raised that the original publication could be used by abusive men to further abuse women. While a seemingly small possibility, because we could both respect that perspective and still provide relevant information for men, change was made. In addition to addressing that primary concern, other suggested minor changes as referenced in the open letter were introduced. Our next steps include additional legal and social science research to further consider points raised in the open letter and consultations to ensure that both men’s and women’s information needs are met by the newest fact sheets.  Interested agencies will be kept apprised and provided opportunity for feedback.

Sherry MacLennan
Director, Public Legal Information & Applications
Legal Services Society