• YWCA Legal Education

Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence—that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada. Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.1

On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full.2

Most women need help when leaving an abusive relationship. Below, you'll find resources and publications that are available to assist you or a loved one (please note that our Staff Lawyer & Legal Educator serves our program participants currently living in YWCA Affordable Housing only.) 

Staff Lawyer & Legal Educator

River Shannon, our staff lawyer and legal educator, provides free legal services to women living in YWCA Affordable Housing who have experienced violence from an intimate partner and who have ongoing safety issues. River works one on one with mothers to resolve their Family Law, Immigration, and Child Protection matters. In their position as legal educator, River also facilitates free workshops for the general public on a broad range of legal issues, advocates for positive change in the community, and supports YWCA outreach and support staff in the Greater Vancouver Area in navigating British Columbia’s Courts and Institutions.

Please check out our events page for River's upcoming legal education workshops. 

Stopping the Violence

A guide for women facing domestic violence, Stopping the Violence lists transition houses, crisis lines and other support organizations for women leaving abuse.

Mothers Leaving Abusive Partners

Plain language guide primarily for women with children who've been abused by their intimate partner (such as a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend). Available in EnglishFrenchSpanishPunjabiSimplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

Describes the legal process and terms and covers:

  • what is abuse
  • where to get help
  • protecting yourself and your children
  • what the courts can do to help
  • what will happen to the children
  • deciding parenting arrangements
  • frequently asked questions
  • what to take with you when you leave

Produced in collaboration with the Legal Services Society. 

Mothers Without Legal Status

This booklet for front-line advocates and service providers gives detailed information about how to best help women without legal status.

Court-Related Abuse and Harassment

This research report, authored by Andrea Vollans, documents how abusers use the legal system to continue to harass and abuse. 


1. Canadian Women's Foundation. "The Facts About Violence Against Women." 2015. 
2. Ibid.