Fundraiser Helps Survivors of Violence

Published: May 17th 2010
in News » Local

Executive Director Amanda Dale and Galit Menahem, who is doing a placement at the clinic as a councilor.

For 25 years, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic has been providing free legal advice and representation, counselling services and interpretation in over 100 languages for women who have experienced any form of violence in their lives for which they need support.


The clinic is named in honour of Barbra Schlifer, a woman who had strong roots in the Jewish community who had a vision to open a law practice to serve the needs of those with lack of access to legal help, particularly victims of violence and the poor.


On April 11, 1980, on the night that Schlifer was celebrating the success of her admission to the bar of Ontario, she was brutally raped and murdered on her way home in the stairwell of her apartment building. Her death was widely reported on in the media and shocked the country.


Schlifer’s closest friends decided to commemorate her vision of a legal clinic by opening such a centre in her honour. Five years later, a relatively short period, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic opened its doors. Also in 1985, Toronto Mayor Art Eggleton proclaimed April 11, “Barbra Schlifer Day.”


The clinic’s programs and services have been in demand from day one and the clinic has been steadily growing since the day it opened its doors, now employing 23 people. They are always in need of financial support which helps to keep their doors open for the 3,700 women who use their services annually. They are also on the threshold of another growth spurt.


“As we commemorate 25 years of serving women survivors of violence, we are so grateful for all of the support from our partners, donors and volunteers,” said Amanda Dale, the clinic’s executive director. “Barbra’s legacy is one of hope and inspiration to so many in our community, and we look forward to raising even more funds this year to celebrate this milestone and promote freedom from violence for years to come.”


The clinic is a link to Schlifer’s vision and a way to enshrine the loss of her life so that it won’t be in vain, explained Dale. She added that she wants to make sure that Jewish women know that the clinic exists and know of the services that it provides.


The clinic’s fundraiser is called a “Tribute to friends” because of the incredible job Schlifer’s friends did in creating the centre. It will be held on June 15 this year to coincide with the anniversary of Schlifer’s death.


Galit Menahem, a survivor of violence, first used the clinic’s services. Now, she has just graduated from studying to be an abuse councilor and is doing a placement at the clinic.


She emphasized “how important it is for women to be able to reach out to the services… to bring knowledge to the community about the unbelievable services available at the clinic.”


“I want women to know that there is a way out of an abusive relationship and they don’t have to live in an abusive relationship. They can reach out and get help and I’m pleading with my community to support this important cause to carry out the legacy of this Jewish visionary.”


This year’s fundraiser is on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the C Lounge (456 Wellington St. West, Toronto). For tickets or to donate, call 416-232-9149 ext 237 or email

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