If you’re a woman who’s experiencing domestic violence and in the process of going through the family court system, you can get free help from a family court support worker.
You don’t need to provide any documents to prove abuse in order to use these services. All services are confidential and available in English, French and other languages if you ask for it.
The program recognizes the unique needs of:
- Francophone and First Nation, Métis and Inuit women
- women with disabilities
- immigrant women
- lesbian and transgendered women
- women who are more comfortable communication in a language other than English or French
What does a family court support worker do?
- provides information about the family court process
- helps you prepare for proceedings
- helps you document the abuse you have experienced
- refers you to other community services and supports, such as lawyers or Legal Aid Ontario
- helps you make a safety plan, such as getting to and from the court safely
- if appropriate, accompanies you to court proceedings
Family court support workers don’t offer legal advice and their help isn’t intended to replace advice from a lawyer.
The growing demand for family court support workers
In 2015, according to data published by the Ministry of the Attorney General:
|Number of clients served||2,025||7,869|
|Number of times information about family court was provided||2,285||9,260|
|Number of safety plans developed||1,285||5,056|
|Number of times assistance with legal aid applications was provided||583||2,620|
|Number of referrals provided to clients for other services||3,717||13,205|
How do I get help from a family court support worker?
These workers are available across the province. You can find a service provider in your community by visiting the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Family Court Support Worker Program page:
If you have questions or need help finding your service provider, please call the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888.
- Family Court Support Worker Program. Ministry of the Attorney General. https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/family_court_support_worker_program/service_providers.php
- Family Court Support Worker Program Statistical Reporting. Ministry of the Attorney General. April 30, 2015. https://www.ontario.ca/data/family-court-support-worker-program-statistical-reporting
- Family Court Support Program. Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. http://schliferclinic.com/help/help-from-a-lawyer/family-court-support/
- Family Court Support Workers. Luke’s Place. http://lukesplace.ca/for-service-providers/toolkits-papers-presentations/family-court-support/
- Domestic Violence Family Court Support Workers Program. Ontario Women’s Justice Network. http://owjn.org/owjn_2009/legal-information/understanding-the-legal-system/344-domestic-violence-family-court-support-workers-program
- Police-reported family violence: Statistics Canada, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey 2014 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2016001-eng.htm
- Self-reported spousal violence: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey on Victimization, 2014 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2016001-eng.htm