Legal resources are available to you depending on the nature of the harm you have experienced and which options you want to explore. An SVPRO Support Specialist can help you explore your concerns and determine which legal options may be best for you. We can help you identify possible outcomes, and connect you with community resources. SVPRO Support Specialists may be able to provide accompaniment or, if unavailable, recommend another organization that will provide these services, such as the WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre.
A range of legal tools are available to survivors, from protective orders, to criminal and civil justice processes, and human rights law. All these processes can be challenging for survivors because they involve legal scrutiny, which is not trauma-informed. And they can involve inaccurate assumptions about harm related to sexualized violence, as well as about the people who are targeted by it, and those who perpetrate it. However, these processes can include tools and outcomes that may be helpful for some survivors.
Everyone has different experiences with these systems. If you require legal expertise, we can help you identify and vet potential sources of legal support and advice.
Protective orders or peace bonds
Sometimes, protective orders or peace bonds can be used to support separation of people. For instance, they can prohibit someone who caused harm from contacting or being near someone they harmed. Criminal justice processes may be available when the harm that occured takes the form of sexual assault or criminal harassment, including stalking or repeated unwanted contact, such as by phone or online.
Through civil courts, people who have experienced harm may be able to seek compensation from the person who caused harm. When the harm that occured takes the form of discrimination and harassment, human rights legal processes such as the BC Human Rights Tribunal are available.
Additional resources and support
While we do our best to provide referrals that are in line with our values, we encourage you to look into each resource to ensure it will be a safe and comfortable option for you. Our Support Specialists are happy to help with this process.
Legal Rights and Procedures after Sexual Assault FAQ The Westcoast LEAF FAQ provides information about the criminal justice process, legal options for protection from someone you fear, civil law options and legal help, and sexual harassment and human rights law.
Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS)
Battered Women’s Support Services provides some legal services in British Columbia, including advice, clinics, and other resources such as specific resources for immigrant and Indigenous women and youth.
Access Pro Bono
Access Pro Bono offers free legal consultations and referrals to paid lawyers for those who are not eligible for Legal Aid Services in BC. This organization addresses a range of legal issues.
Rise Women’s Legal Centre
The Centre is an inclusive community legal clinic based in Vancouver BC, serving women all over BC. Mainly, the centre provides family law services, which includes protection orders.