Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC

Clear Skies
A family violence story

Marnie and her kids live with family violence. But with the support of her community, and by learning about her legal options, Marnie is able to leave an abusive relationship. Clear Skies is Marnie's story.

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Resources

Abuse and family violence

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, help is available. See our page Abuse and family violence for more information. See Who can help at the bottom of this page for contact information for who can help.

Sometimes leaving your partner can trigger more violence. It's very important to stay safe. If you're in immediate danger, call 911. To find the nearest victim service worker, safe house, or transition house, call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 (no charge, 24 hours a day). VictimLink provides services in over 100 languages, including 17 North American Aboriginal languages. See also Who can help? at the bottom of the page.

It's also very important to get legal help. Phone Legal Aid right away to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer: 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-866-577-2525 (call no charge outside Greater Vancouver). Or see the legal help options listed under Who can help? at the bottom of the page.

Who can stay in the family home on reserve

For more information about who can stay in the family home on reserve if your relationship breaks down, see our page Your home on reserve.

Legal Aid BC

It's important to get legal help. Phone Legal Aid right away to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer: 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-866-577-2525 (no charge outside Greater Vancouver).

See our page Legal Aid can help you for more information on legal aid in BC. This page has information on how to apply for legal aid or get legal advice.

Get free publications on the law

Legal Aid BC has a range of free publications that have legal information that can help you. This includes publications for the Aboriginal community.

The Legal Aid BC website also has free publications about family law and criminal law. The Family Law in BC website has detailed information about family law.

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Glossary

Safety information for Marnie

Safe house

Temporary accommodation (place to stay) in a community that doesn't have transition houses. It may be a rental apartment, private home, or a hotel unit.

Transition house

Temporary housing that provides a safe and secure environment for women and their children leaving an abusive relationship.

Safety plan

A safety plan is made up of steps you can take to protect yourself and your children. It's a good idea for a friend, advocate, or victim service worker to help you make your safety plan.

James' criminal trial

Bail hearing

A hearing where a judge or justice of the peace decides whether to release someone on bail before their trial. There are usually conditions they must follow while on bail.

Crown counsel

The lawyer who works with the Ministry of Justice. It's their job to put forward the case against someone charged with a crime.

No contact order

A court order that prohibits your partner or ex-partner from contacting you. The order may be a condition of release from custody before trial (bail). Or it may be a condition of probation.

It's a crime to break a no contact order. This includes all direct and indirect communication. Direct and indirect communication include texts, emails, voicemails, messages passed through friends or family, etc.

Peace bond

An order a judge makes to protect you from your partner or ex-partner. It lists the conditions that your partner must follow.

Victim service worker

Someone who works with the police and the courts to help victims of crime. They provide information, referrals, and emotional support.

Victim impact statement

Crown counsel might ask you to fill out one of these. It gives you a chance to explain what effect the assault or harassment has had on you and your children.

Marnie's family law case

Court order

A document that records the judge's decision. It's entered at the court registry after the judge makes their decision. Court orders include support, guardianship, protection, and parenting orders.

Exclusive occupation order

A court order if you live on reserve and you and your partner break up. It will say one of you has to leave the home for a long time.

Judges make these orders under the Family Homes On Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act. This act is new as of December 16, 2014. Find out more on our page Your home on reserve.

Family law protection order

An order a judge makes in a family court to protect you from your partner or ex-partner. It lists the conditions that your partner must follow.

Interim order

A temporary order a judge makes that applies to both parties. This is until you get a final order at a trial. The judge bases it on the limited evidence you and your partner or ex-partner presented when the order was requested.

How to get money

Social assistance

Welfare if you're living on reserve. Find out more on our page Social assistance on reserve.

Income assistance

Welfare if you're living off reserve.

Find out more







Who can help?

Safe houses, transition houses, victim services

100 Mile House & District Women's Centre Society — Call 250-395-4093

Battered Women's Support Services – Aboriginal Women's Program — Across BC

BC211 — Helps people in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley districts to find available shelters — Call 211

Elizabeth Fry Society — Burns Lake — Call 250-692-5720 (24 hours a day)

Elizabeth Fry Society — Prince George — Call 1-866-563-1113 (no charge, 24 hours a day)

Helping Spirit Lodge Society — Spirit Lodge Transition House — Call 604-872-6649

Native Courtworker and Counselling Association — Culturally appropriate support, explain legal situations — Call 1-877-811-1190 (no charge)

Vernon Women's Transition House Society — Call 250-542-1185

VictimLink BC — Counselling, information, and referrals — Call 1-800-563-0808 (no charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

Women Against Violence Against Women — Counselling program — Call 604-255-6344 — Vancouver

Women Against Violence Against Women — 24-hour Crisis Line — Call 1-877-392-7583 (no charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) — Across BC

Find an advocate

BC211 — Free confidential referrals to help and information — Call 211

PovNet — Information about poverty issues and links to organizations that can help

BC Association of Friendship Centres — Find a friendship centre in your area

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation — See their A Guide to Aboriginal Organizations and Services in British Columbia for organizations that can help

Legal help

Legal information

Aboriginal community legal workers — Give legal information and limited advice services

Legal information outreach workers — Give legal information and provide referrals


Legal advocacy and advice

Access Pro Bono Law Clinics — Free legal help

Carole James, MLA, Community Office — Free legal clinic, including family matters — Call 250-412-7794

Family duty counsel — Free legal advice — Kwadacha and Tsay Key Dene — Call 1-877-601-6066 (no charge)

Family duty counsel — Free legal advice on family matters — Williams Lake, call 778-395-6200

First Nations and Métis Outreach Program (The Law Centre) — Free legal help, including family matters — Victoria

Legal Aid BC — Free legal advice clinics — Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council and Williams Lake — 604-681-8021

Bella Coola Legal Advocacy Program — Free legal help — Bella Coola

UBC Indigenous Community Legal Clinic — Free legal help on various legal matters — 604-684-7334 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-888-684-7334 (call no charge)

Upper Skeena Counselling & Legal Assistance Society — Free legal help — Hazelton

Victoria Native Friendship Centre — Free legal clinic, including family matters — Call 250-412-7794