The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is a specialized clinic for women experiencing violence, established in the memory of Barbra Schlifer – an idealistic young lawyer whose life was cut short by violence on the night of her call to the bar of Ontario on April 11, 1980. In her memory, the Clinic assists more than 4,000 women a year to build lives free from violence through counselling, legal representation and language interpretation. We amplify women’s voices, and cultivate their skills and resilience. Together with our donors and volunteers, we are active in changing the conditions that threaten women’s safety, dignity and equality.
On April 11, 1985, five years after Barbra’s death, then Mayor of Toronto, Arthur C. Eggleton proclaimed April 11th “Barbra Schlifer Day,” and in September 1985, the Clinic opened its doors at 188 Dupont Street in Toronto. Initially, the Clinic provided a unique combination of free legal and counselling services for women who had experienced partner assault, child sexual abuse and sexual assault. In 1987 an interpreter service for non-English speaking women who had experienced violence was introduced and since then the Clinic has added new programs and grown in both size and significance. In addition, the Clinic has become expert in a range of gender violence that includes but goes beyond domestic violence, partner assault, and child sexual abuse. Increasingly, we are active in such issues as forced marriage, honour-related violence, gender persecution from state perpetrators, as well as non-state actors in the international context.