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Why Give | Impact stories

Women’s legal clinic services needed more than ever

For low-income, self-identified women in the Lower Mainland, the donor-supported Rise Women’s Legal Centre provides crucial representation.

Rise, a partnership between the Allard School of Law and West Coast LEAF, opened its doors in 2016 and currently assists on average thirty women per week with family law. It is the first clinic of its kind in BC, providing much-needed access to justice for those who otherwise couldn’t afford legal representation. The Y. P. Heung Foundation first supported Rise in 2017 with an initial gift of $150,000 and has recently renewed its support for this vital program.

“The Allard School of Law is grateful to the Y. P. Heung Foundation for its generous commitment to Rise,” said Dean pro tem Janine Benedet. “Especially at a time when women and children face further difficulties related to Covid-19.”

For low-income, self-identified women in the Lower Mainland, Rise provides representation in family law and related legal areas for those not qualifying for legal aid. Under a practicing lawyer’s supervision, students from the Allard School of Law provide pro-bono representation. According to case manager Andrea Bryson, their services are even more in demand during the pandemic.

“[We] are busier than ever because women still face the exacerbated tensions of living with abusers, and abusers using COVID-19 as a new way to manipulate the situation and cause harm.” Andrea adds, “On top of that, clients continue to come to us with family law matters (divorce, child support etc.) in a province where access to justice is anything but accessible.”

For the Y. P. Heung Foundation, the pandemic’s intensifying effects on domestic violence made this a crucial time to renew support for Rise’s important work.

“Now, more than ever, accessible legal services in the area of family law are needed,” explains Raymond Heung, foundation trustee. “We are pleased to continue supporting Rise and the countless women across the province who benefit from its services.”

Rise Women’s Legal Centre is an experiential learning program for students at the Allard School of Law that exists thanks to the generous support of people like you. Help their vital work and learn more about how you can support Rise.

If you would like to support the vital work of the Rise Women’s Legal Centre, you can do so here.