The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic offers legal services and representation, trauma-informed counselling, and interpretation in more than 170 languages to diverse women (self-identified), intersex, non-binary and Two Spirit people who have experienced gender-based violence. We cultivate women’s skills and resilience by fostering their safety, dignity, and equality. We amplify women’s voices to create individual and collective change.
Barbra Teena Schlifer was an idealistic young lawyer who was sexually assaulted and killed in the basement stairwell of her Toronto apartment building on the day of her call to the Bar of Ontario, April 11, 1980. As a result of her tragic death, friends established the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic to pursue the work she had hoped to do. We opened our doors in September 1985.
By building local and global partnerships, we envision a world where women live free from violence. We are committed to working alongside communities to create autonomy and self-determination for women, informed by their diverse experiences, needs, and choices. The Clinic works in the community and partnerships with national and international movements to end gender-based violence, knowing that individual experience is embedded in systems and structures.
Every year, the Clinic provides critical services to thousands of women experiencing violence. In our 2020/2021 fiscal year, we provided services to over 12,000 women, a 38 percent increase over the previous year.
We also inform public opinion on important issues such as gender-based violence, forced marriage, “honour”-killing, trafficking and intimate partner violence, taking an intersectional approach that is viewed through a feminist and trauma-informed lens. Some examples of our work include:
- #AndMeToo: This project aims to increase access to justice for women of precarious immigration status and employment who have experienced workplace sexual assault or sexual harassment.
- The Criminalization of Women Project: Through research and pro-bono programming, this project addresses the disproportionate impact of the law on women who identify violence against them but then find themselves facing criminal and other consequences.
- Our Risk Assessment Tool: A tool used to identify and alert legal actors of potentially lethal gender-based violence situations experienced by their clients when leaving an abusive relationship.
- High Need Case Management: A trauma-informed, mental health approach to goal planning that provides wrap-around service support to clients.
For more details on our work and information about our critical wrap-around services and other projects, please visit our website.