About the Your Way Forward (YWF) Project Funded by the Department of Justice
The Your Way Forward (YWF) Project is a Department of Justice multi-year funded program with the goal of expanding and enhancing services to survivors of gender-based violence.
In December 2021, the Elgin-Oxford Legal Clinic (EOLC), Justice for Children and Youth, and our sister legal clinics were successful in obtaining more than four years (to March 2026) of funding through the Victims Fund and the Justice Partnership and Innovation Fund, with a total investment from the Department of Justice of $6.6 million.
Our collaborative project is called Your Way Forward.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic saw increased rates of gender-based violence (GBV) and magnified systemic and longstanding inequalities, including gaps in service provision for survivors of GBV. As part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to address such gaps and barriers, a call for proposals was made by the Department of Justice for organizations who wished to provide holistic legal services (including independent legal advice and representation) to survivors of sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Your Way Forward | Justice for Children and Youth (jfcy.org)
What is Gender-Based Violence?
Gender-based violence refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms and it disproportionately impacts women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people.
Physical abuse is not the only form of gender-based violence. Gender-based violence can take many forms including emotional abuse, mental abuse, financial violence, sexual violence and more.
Anybody can be abused, no matter their background, identity, or circumstance. But women, girls, and gender-diverse people are at high risk of gender-based violence.
Why is Ending Gender-based Violence So Important?
It costs lives: in 2022, 184 women and girls were violently killed, primarily by men. One woman or girl is killed every 48 hours (Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, 2022).
More than 4 in 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetimes. In 2018, 44% of women reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes (Statistics Canada, 2021).
Domestic violence can carry over into the workplace, threatening women’s ability to maintain economic independence. More than half (53%) of study respondents who experienced domestic violence said that at least one type of abusive act happened at or near their workplace. Almost 40% of those who had experienced domestic abuse said it made it difficult for them to get to work, and 8.5% said that they lost their jobs because of it (Jennifer C.D. MacGregor et al., Safety and Health at Work, 2016).
See more facts about gender-based violence at: Gender Based Violence in Canada | Learn the Facts (canadianwomen.org)
Through the YWF Project, legal clinics throughout Ontario are working to reduce gender-based violence and improve access to justice for survivors of violence.
This includes supporting individuals who want to engage the legal divorce or separation process and are in need of spousal support, child support, an emergency order, a divorce, a restraining order, property equalization and more.
The goals of the YWF Project are:
We will increase public awareness and knowledge around gender-based violence. One way we will do this is through our social media accounts. Follow us on social media to learn more.
We will also provide public legal education regarding gender-based violence and the legal divorce or separation process. If you are currently considering starting the legal divorce or separation process please take a look at our Divorce and Separation page which provides a step-by-step guide for how to fill out the initial forms.
As well, we will provide legal information and advice to individuals on gender-based violence, including information and advice on the legal divorce or separation process.