Domestic violence strategy

About the strategy

Legal Aid Ontario's Domestic Violence Strategy aims to strengthen the capacity of lawyers,

frontline workers and management to better serve clients who have experienced domestic violence.

More about the DVS


What we’re planning to do

What we’re planning to do

The various projects outlined in the action plan may be developed either earlier or later in the timeline depending on available resources and funding.

  2017/18 2018/19 2019/20

Making it easier to access services

In emergency situations, LAO would no longer require domestic violence clients to take an eligibility test to get two hours free with a lawyer.

In emergency situations, increase the number of hours available (from the current two hours) free with a lawyer.

Make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to get help from an immigration/refugee lawyer by expanding eligibility guidelines.

Make it easier for domestic abuse survivors to get help in all remaining areas of law that LAO provides service in by expanding eligibility guidelines.

In emergency situations, offer a set number of hours free with a criminal lawyer.

Start a pilot project to improve victims’ rights when it comes to legal aid representing both parties.

Improving the way LAO staff, community legal clinics, and private lawyers provide legal help

Clients will be able to find local lawyers with experience working with domestic violence clients through an online tool on LAO’s website.

Look into policies that will better help clients change their lawyer, file complaints or cite ethics violations.

Review the standards for lawyers who accept legal aid cases for domestic violence clients.

Update and put into place new standards for lawyers who want to work with legal aid to specifically help people experiencing domestic violence.

Update the policies and processes for clients who want to change their legal aid lawyers, for complaints and ethics violations.

Enhance what LAO pays lawyers who specialize in domestic violence cases and who take on legal aid clients.

Working with community groups to bring about sustainable change

Have local LAO contacts all across the province who are connected to shelters and agencies. These specialists will make it easier for LAO to work together with social service providers so that domestic violence survivors get the legal help they need.

Look at ways to make it easier for domestic violence survivors to get information about their rights and how LAO can help them.

Find out where the gaps are when it comes to providing legal education and information to clients experiencing domestic violence.

Develop legal education and information

Improve the way we track what a client goes through when they’re moving through the criminal or immigration/refugee justice systems.