Calgary Legal Guidance

Domestic Violence/Family Law

Hello from the Domestic Violence Family Law Program, and a heartfelt thank you to all of our Volunteer Lawyers who make this program happen.
 
Since the onset of Covid-19, family violence in Calgary has risen significantly, with a 40% increase of women in the highest zone of danger for extreme violence, up to and including homicide, compared to the same period last year (Corbella, 2020).  
 
Calgary Legal Guidance’s Domestic Violence Family Law Program (DVFLP) serves individuals who are thinking of leaving, are in the process of leaving, or have recently left an abusive relationship. Most of these clients have children in their care. We prioritize these clients due to the heightened risk they face, and in order to provide guidance through the courts as early as possible. The Program is focused on setting up clients for long-term success in keeping themselves and their children safe, while engaging the legal system through a strengths-based approach, where the individual gains legal skill- building for self-efficacy in legal processes.  
 
Our team provides both remote and in-person information and advice in family law and some associated matters such as renters’ and victims’ rights. We primarily help clients frame the history of the relationship and gather evidence for family court, and refer them on to other legal services for further support. The DVFLP has 2 full time lawyers, a full time registered social worker, and a program coordinator, and assists clients with their legal problems, while at the same time pragmatically addressing the many other hurdles faced by an individual fleeing family violence, such as: safety planning, housing, and counselling. Our team takes time in asking questions in a trauma-informed manner to help each client tell their story, pulling out the details that can make the difference between showing the court that the relationship has conflict, and showing the court that the client and their children are in danger. 
 
If you’d like additional information about the DVFL and what we do, if you’d like information or resources on family violence and abuse, or if you have an idea for volunteering to help people subjected to violence and abuse, please do not hesitate to contact us!   Have a look at our DVFL Program Brochure.
 
Anyone, including potential clients, can connect directly to the DVFL by calling Leanne Leier, Program Coordinator or call 587-349-7994.

 
 
Sheila Pahl 
Lead Lawyer, Domestic Violence Family Law  

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