Getting legal help
You are experiencing (or have experienced) domestic violence
Anyone in Ontario who is experiencing domestic violence can get a free emergency two-hour consultation with a lawyer.
Legal Aid Ontario has special family law services to help people experiencing domestic violence, regardless of immigration status in Canada. Free telephone interpretation services for non-English or non-French speaking applicants are also available.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, and are in need of legal assistance, you can call Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 for a free two-hour consultation with a private lawyer. This lawyer can tell you the truth about your legal rights. You may, for instance, have the right to stay in Canada, keep your children, or get financial support, even if you leave an abusive partner. This service, along with free advice on immigration and refugee matters, is also offered through many shelters and community legal clinics.
You can also call the Assaulted Women's Helpline
If you are experiencing violence or the effects of violence, crisis, and abuse, you can call the Assaulted Women's Helpline, 24-hours a day, seven days a week for immediate help:
- Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511
- TTY (Telephone device for the hearing impaired):1-866-863-7868
- GTA: 416-863-0511
- TTY (Telephone device for the hearing impaired):416-364-8762
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|
Below are some other resources for those experiencing domestic violence. Please note that these are external links and Legal Aid Ontario is not responsible for their content.
- Abuse and Family Violence
Your legal rights information on abuse and family violence issues
- Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Provides free and integrated legal, counseling, interpretation, information and referral services for women who have experienced violence.
- Covering your tracks on the Internet
If you are worried your abuser may be able to see what websites you have visited, read these tips on how to protect yourself.
- Do you know a women who is being abused? A Legal Rights Handbook
Produced by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), this guide offers practical information on issues in family, criminal and other areas of law that women in abusive relationships often face.
- Get help with family violence
Information from the Canadian Department of Justice
- If you need help - Services for Women
The Ontario Women's Directorate provides many resources.
- Learning to end abuse
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
- Neighbourhood Friends and Family
A public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help
- Violence in the Family
Information from the Ministry of the Attorney General
- Women's resources
Working with the community to provide services and support for abused women & their children and to provide opportunities to end violence against women.
Call us toll-free at 1-800-668-8258.