In this 3-part series put on jointly by Battered Women Support Services (BWSS) and Courthouse Libraries, we will explore some of the issues when responding to complex presentations of violence against women interfacing with the law. Rosa Elena Arteaga and Vicky Law will guide participants through key points in conducting and interview and strategy preparation.
Criminal, immigration and family law issues are a reality for women who experience violence and have particular significance for Indigenous, Refugee, Immigrant and women with precarious immigration status. For instance, women survivors of violence experience increased vulnerability:
-when they are arrested for allegedly perpetrating domestic violence,
-when they are incarcerated for criminal convictions arising out of post trauma coping behaviour before, during and post release, impacting Indigenous women disproportionately , and/or
-when they have precarious immigration status or are refugees or recent immigrants as well when they are self-representing in family law situations
BWSS has become increasingly concerned by the growing number of women accessing their services who had been arrested for allegedly perpetrating domestic violence against their partners. In their experience, these arrests are occurring despite the fact that in all cases the women were in relationships where their partners were abusing them.
Rosa Elena Arteaga has been working in the anti-violence field for over twenty years delivering workshops on violence against women, and providing training to service providers at a provincial, national and international level. She is the Manager of Direct Services and Clinical Practice at BWSS.
Vicky Law is a practicing lawyer at BWSS and the Legal Advocacy Program Coordinator.