Getting legal help
Legal aid help if you are experiencing domestic violence
Need a lawyer?
If you are experiencing domestic violence, Legal Aid Ontario may be able to assist. LAO provides a variety of services for family legal matters.
If you are in need of immediate legal help, LAO offers two hours free with a lawyer. Please ask your local shelter or legal clinic if they offer this service.
In some cases, LAO can also pay for a lawyer to help you if you’ve been charged with assault while trying to defend yourself against your abusive partner.
Call Legal Aid Ontario toll-free at 1-800-668-8258 to find out how we can help
Sharing information with us about your situation may help because:
- We can give you legal advice or refer you to a lawyer.
- We will better understand your legal needs. You will not be asked a lot of personal questions about the abuse.
- We can give you information and refer you to other services that can help you.
Please note: Any information that you give Legal Aid Ontario will be kept private, unless you give us permission to share the information with someone like a staff member at a shelter for abused women or a counsellor.
You can also call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline
The Assaulted Women’s Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-866-863-0511. The helpline can refer you to your nearest local shelter.
Legal aid certificates
In addition, if you are financially eligible and are experiencing domestic violence, you may qualify for a Legal Aid Ontario certificate, which you can take to a family lawyer of your choice.
Certificates are available when you are financially eligible and need a lawyer to represent you in one of these situations:
You need legal services for issues such as a contested issue and/or change (variation) to an existing family court order.
You are a survivor of domestic violence without a criminal record who has been charged with assault against your abusive partner while defending yourself, and you identify as First Nation, Métis or Inuit, or have a continuing family matter with LAO; or have an ongoing refugee status claim. LAO makes this coverage available because in some cases, people experiencing domestic violence are charged with assault while attempting to defend themselves. These criminal charges could affect your family court case, especially custody and access, as well as any child-protection proceeding.
Your gross (before-tax) family income must be lower than the ones on this chart:
|Number of family members||Income must be lower than|