Pamela Cross is a feminist lawyer; a well-known and respected expert on violence against women and the law for her work as a researcher, writer, educator and trainer. She is the Legal Director of Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre in Durham Region, where she leads the organization’s provincial projects, including research, training and advocacy.
She is also a member of the teaching faculty with the National Judicial Institute, where she plans and delivers educational programs on violence against women to Canadian judges and has recently completed the development of violence against women curriculum for law schools in a project with the Law Commission of Ontario.
Pamela has worked with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, most notably as the co-author of “Muslim and Canadian Family Laws: A Comparative Primer” and as the author of “Violence Against Women: Health and Justice for Canadian Women,” as well as delivering workshops on family law to CCMW members.
Pamela’s most recent paper is “When Shared Parenting and the Safety of Women and Children Collide,” published in September 2016.
In her role as Luke’s Place Legal Director, Pamela is the lead trainer for Ontario’s Family Court Support Workers, providing both in-person and online training and support for approximately 100 frontline workers who assist abused women in family court. She is currently developing and delivering domestic violence awareness training for all Legal Aid Ontario staff, clinics and per diem and panel lawyers. She is also a member of the Violence Against Women Roundtable, which provides guidance to the provincial government on this issue.
Pamela is a 2015 recipient of the Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction for her work on the issue of violence against women.
She is a frequent speaker at provincial, national and international conferences.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (8)
Violence Against Women
Confidentiality and recordkeeping
Organizational and Board development
Not-for-profit policy and procedure
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL VICTIM SERVICES AWARD OF DISTINCTION: 2015 (professional)
For exceptional achievements in supporting survivors of male violence, in particular, work supporting women who have been subjected to domestic violence
YWCA TORONTO WOMAN OF DISTINCTION 2006 (professional)
In particular, work on a national level for custody law reform, leadership role in the No Religious Arbitration Coalition in Ontario, work providing legal information to isolated and marginalized women and mentorship of young women law students, “whose moral compasses have been set working under her tutelage.”
LINDA CLIPPINGDALE AWARD, 2001 (professional)
One award made annually by the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women for “her commitment to feminist change, by her spirit, energy and good judgment.” The Institute commented particularly on mentoring role for young women.
Media Appearances (10)
Paralegals in family courts not the solution
The Toronto Star print
Opinion piece with Amanda Dale: "Recommendation that paralegals be permitted to provide legal services with respect to custody and access reveals a weak understanding of the complexities on the ground."
Unfounded sexual assault cases
CTV News online
Pamela Cross is interviewed about sexual assault in response to the Globe and Mail investigation, “Unfounded.”
When men kill their partners, warning signs often missed
Toronto Star print
From the article: “'I think we are quite good at identifying who is high-risk,' said Pamela Cross, legal director at Luke’s Place, a Durham-based organization that provides family law support for abused women. 'I think the challenge is: so then what do we do about that.'"
Remembering three women
The Daily Observer print
“'We’re blamed if we stay, and we’re blamed if we go,' she said, 'but there is no bad victim of male violence.'”
Judgment in Mandi Gray sexual assault case 'glorious,' but change to legal system will be slow: advocates
From the article: "Pamela Cross, legal director of Luke's Place, a non-profit organization for women navigating the legal system, said Zuker had 'a profound and almost astonishing understanding of the issue of sexual violence, of women's lack of autonomy in these situations.'"
Can the Ghomeshi trial lead to change?
Globe and Mail print
Opinion piece with Amanda Dale: "Thursday’s verdict of not guilty on all charges in the the trial of Jian Ghomeshi was no surprise to anyone. But in reaching acquittal, Justice William Horkins waded further into the controversies outside the courtroom than strictly necessary for his legal finding."
How are witnesses prepped in sexual assault trials?
Marie Henein’s cross-examination in the Jian Ghomeshi trial seemed to catch the Crown — and the complainants — by surprise. How come?
Ghomeshi case highlights issues of fairness in sexual assault trials
Pamela Cross speaks with Redeye host Lorraine Chisholm. From the website: "The high-profile trial of Jian Ghomeshi has brought a storm of reaction over the cross-examination and testimony of witnesses who brought the complaints forward. We speak with feminist lawyer Pamela Cross. She's the legal director of Luke's Place Support and Resource Centre in Durham Region in Ontario."
No right to a discriminatory defence
The Toronto Star print
Opinion piece with Joanna Birenbaum and Amanda Dale: "An honest conversation is needed about how to protect full answer and defence without resorting to misogynist standards."
Coming forward in court: Women break their silence of sexual assault
Global News online
“'I think sexual assault is taken very lightly generally in Canada,' says lawyer Pamela Cross, who has been working with victims of sexual assault for twenty years."