The Ishtar Women’s Resource Society has a new program to help its clients obtain legal advice with the help of a law student.
The society announced the hiring of a University of British Columbia student to provide further legal advocacy and support to women and children at risk or experiencing abuse.
“We are excited to add to the knowledge of our hardworking staff, with Lauren Ferguson, a second-year UBC law student, who will be providing additional legal support to women and children we work with” said Maureen Berlin, executive director.
Until now, Ishtar clients could turn to Sarah Hossack, family support worker, and another outreach worker for help finding legal resources.
“Myself and my co-outreach worker were providing the majority of the support and that includes helping women apply for Legal Aid, going to Legal Aid appointments with them, going to lawyers appointments, attending court with them,” Hossack explained.
But clients are limited in terms of the number of hours of legal help they could receive.
Having a law student, who will be supervised by a law professor, in the office will make legal help more accessible.
UBC contacted Ishtar with an offer to be part of the program.
The funding will begin in May of 2023, and continue until early September 2023, and Ferguson will be providing legal information, education and advocacy around family law, residential tenancy law, as well as child protection. The legal advocate/educator position will be providing both one-on-one support and group education; as well as legal research.
Her work will be done in conjunction to the services already provided to women who access services provided at Ishtar, as part of the Women’s Support Services program; but will also be offered to women in the City and Township of Langley, as well as East Surrey.
Founded in June of 1973, Ishtar Women’s Resource Society is the oldest anti-violence organization for women in British Columbia, and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer.
The law student program is being funded by the Law Foundation.
“If it goes, well, hopefully we’re going to apply for next year’s program as well,” Berlin said.
For more information about Ishtar, the legal program, or any of its services, call 604-530-1011 or go to ishtarsociety.org.
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