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ACWS Legal Matters Podcast

The ACWS Legal Matters Podcast is geared towards legal professionals and people working in the field of domestic violence response. The podcast examines topics that affect survivors of domestic violence and the frontline organizations that support them.

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Episode 1: Changes to the Divorce Act

What do judges and lawyers working in Family Law need to know about Coercive Controlling Violence? The Divorce Act has changed as of March 2021. Do you know what the changes are and how they will impact people with lived experience of domestic violence? Experts in the field discuss key themes that have been missing from the conversation.

This episode is presented by Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP.

Resources & FAQs: download here.


Moderator: Jennifer Koshan

Panelists: Angela Rooks-Trotzuk and Sandy Vander Ziel

Jennifer Koshan is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary. Her research and teaching focus on equality, human rights, and legal responses to interpersonal violence. She is Primary Investigator on a cross-Canada research project on domestic violence and access to justice funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Access to Justice Fund. She was also a witness before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearings on Coercive Controlling Violence, focusing on the importance of avoiding adverse consequences for survivors and members of marginalized groups if coercive control is criminalized. Twitter: @JenniferKoshan

Angela Rooks-Trotzuk is the CEO of the Lloydminster Interval Home Society, which is an ever evolving and passionate organization dedicated to developing life-times of well-being and healthy relationships for all. Through her leadership in providing crisis response and support, psycho-social education, advocacy, strategic organizational change, and community development she has worked to support and to advocate for women and children impacted by the devastating impact of violence for over 20 years. Her current work is focused on organizational and community development in response to gender based violence to ensure that communities are educated, equipped and responsive to the impacts of violence.

The former Chair of The Sonshine Centre in Calgary, Sandy Vander Ziel is also an award-winning family lawyer. She has extensive volunteer experience both with community organizations and within the legal community. Witnessing the lasting impact of domestic violence upon children, she is a passionate advocate for building greater public awareness and education. Sandy is a Board Delegate for the Census Metropolitan Areas of Calgary and Edmonton on the ACWS Board.


Episode 2: Clare’s Law in Alberta

“The right to ask and the right to know are important preventative measures that will help keep vulnerable Albertans safer,” said Premier Jason Kenney as Clare’s Law came into effect in Alberta in April of 2021. Time has passed since the legislation came into effect, but many questions remain to be answered in terms of how it is administered and implemented. What are the risks and responsibilities involved with a disclosure under Clare’s Law? What role should the police play in the process? What expertise can shelters provide to help keep women safe? Experts in the field will discuss these questions and more.

This episode is sponsored by Brown Law Group.

Moderator: Jessica Chapman

Panelists: Lisa Watson and Jeanette MacInnis

Jessica Chapman is the Vice President of the ACWS Board of Directors, and is a family lawyer practicing at the Family Law Office in Edmonton with a focus on representing women impacted by domestic violence. She has also practiced in the area of child welfare defence, and volunteers with the Rotary Club, the Lions, and Amnesty International.

Jeannette MacInnis is the former Director of Health and Ending Violence initiatives at the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centre’s Jeannette has an extensive background in a multitude of social determinants of health and wellness areas including poverty. Jeannette has been a strong advocate for the health and well-being of women, with an expansive academic and professional background on the issue, extending as far afield as the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Jeannette has been highly active in the movement to end violence against women and girls, including human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and domestic and family violence with participation on many provincial and national committees and projects. She previously sat on the board of directors for the Battered Women Support Services (BWSS) for 4 years, and BCs Community Coordination for Women’s Safety provincial working group for 5 years. Nationally, she sat on the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a former National Advisory Committee on the prevention of human trafficking and exploitation of Indigenous women and youth. She is currently the Women & Wellness Manager at ANFCA.

Lisa Watson is the Executive Director of Odyssey House in Grande Prairie. She prioritizes relationship building, with community first priorities and describes herself as a resource navigator and anti-violence advocate.

This episode is sponsored by Brown Law Group. https://brownlawgroup.ca/