Using technology to facilitate rural and remote legal education

It's hard to keep up.

British Columbia is in the midst of introducing a new Family Law Act. The Federal Government has made significant changes to refugee law in Canada, and BC’s child welfare system has a number of new policies and protocols in place, all of which have implications for people working directly with women survivors of violence.

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Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

We are hopeful that some of these changes will better meet the needs women and their children. We believe that others will result in added challenges and barriers for vulnerable women.  And we know that the frontline advocates, transition house workers and counsellor, who are increasingly called upon to help women in crisis navigate our complex and often overwhelming legal system, need the support of the legal community to keep up with these changes.

We have done a number of workshop for anti-violence workers in the past, but what makes our latest series, set to begin in September, so exciting is that through a partnership with the BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH), and with the support of the Law Foundation of BC, we will be able to take the legal education series we facilitate in Vancouver and offer the same program to anti-violence workers around the province.

For advocates and support workers living in rural and remote areas the impacts of the lack of legal aid is compounded by fewer services and long distances that make it hard to build networks of support. In order to address some of that unmet need, we are taking a workshop series we are facilitating at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House in Vancover, and using it as a basis for a series of real-time webinars that can be accessed by frontline workers from anywhere in BC. To take part in these free webinars, all an organization needs is a telephone and a computer with an internet connection.

Participants will be able to hear the presentation and ask questions (like a conference call) and also see the presenter's slides on your computer (watching over an internet connection). They can also type in questions for the presenter.  One of the greatest aspects of the project is that the webinar series will also be recorded and then hosted on BCSTH’s Online Community Resource Centre, as a reference resource.

We are excited about this new partnership with BCSTH and about reaching out to new communities across BC.  We are also fortunate to have partnerships with the knowledgeable (and brave) lawyers who have signed up to try their hands at online education.

Are you a service provider interested in finding out more about our legal education workshops? Get in touch!

Darcie Bennett, Ph.D
Campaigns Director
Pivot Legal Society

darcie [at] pivotlegal dot org