Court Support

The Criminal Court Program assists those appearing in Provincial Criminal Docket Courts in Halifax and Dartmouth. Staff and volunteers:

  • explain court procedures and terminology

  • provide legal referrals

  • provide Return to Court Date Cards

  • offer practical assistance and emotional support to those appearing in court, as well as their family and friends

  • help navigate the justice system

  • Assist in bail plans and advocate for community options to incarceration

The Family Court Program offers support and advocacy in navigating the family court system through spousal, child support, custody and access and child protection matters. Staff provide: 

  • Information about the family court process

  • Transportation and accompaniment to family court proceedings and lawyer appointments

  • Safety planning, especially related to court appearances, if applicable

  • Communication with other family court-based services and referral sources to promote the seamless delivery of information and support where appropriate

  • Debriefing and discussing court outcomes, legal appointments, and next steps

  • Support with completion of paperwork and lawyer’s requests

  • Referrals and advocacy with community supports and services

  • Information and practical support in accessing Legal Aid

  • Communicating with criminal court-based services

Programs for Adults

Our programs help women break the cycle of poverty, addiction, mental illness, homelessness and pathways to crime. Referrals are made through the Department of Justice, Correctional Services Canada, community partners and self-referrals are always welcome.

  • Healing From Trauma: This is a gender-responsive and trauma-informed program that applies a variety of therapeutic interventions and explores triggers, grounding and self-soothing

  • Understanding Anger: This workshop encourages women to identify anger as a potential force for change. The course material encourages women to recognize and acknowledge their feelings of anger.

  • Helping Women Recover: This program offers a comprehensive treatment model that integrates theories of addiction, women’s psychological development, and trauma.

  • Parenting Inside Out®: The Parenting Inside Out® program is an evidence-based parenting skills training program developed for criminal justice involved parents. The prison parenting program is appropriate for both incarcerated mothers and incarcerated fathers who are parenting from prison. The community version is appropriate for parents on parole or probation.

Programs for Youth

Prevention and early intervention is a critical component of disrupting the pathways to crime. Early intervention prevents the onset of criminal behavior and supports the development of a youth’s assets and resilience. 

  • Voices: Delivered to school aged youth in the Halifax Regional Municipality, this program guides young people through an understanding of the developing self and the centrality of connection to the lives of girls and young women. 

  • Love is Not Abuse: Delivered to High School students in the Halifax area, this curriculum focuses on four critical goals: 1. Increasing students’ understanding of teen dating abuse 2. Enabling students to reach out to provide support and help to a friend or family member who may be involved in an abusive relationship 3. Increasing help-seeking behavior among students involved in abusive dating relationships 4. Promoting healthier approaches to dating relationships and conflicts

  • Cultural Pathways: Staff work with African Nova Scotian and Indigenous young people charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act who are diverted by police and courts to specialized services and supports in the community. Utilizing a collaborative approach that focuses on key areas; mental health, education and employment, addictions, history of trauma and violence, racism, familial supports, mentoring and social isolation reduction. By employing a restorative and holistic approach to working with youth, we prepare youth for the future and give them real opportunity to experience their full potential. 

Outreach Services

  • Jail and Prison In-reach: Staff and volunteers visit those incarcerated on the East Unit of the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility (CNSCF) to provide information, support, resources, connection to community and family links and to assist in bail planning

  • Covid-19 Outreach Program: This service replaces our drop-in center during the state of emergency and provides care packages and in-person check-ins to folks in the community

Education & Advocacy

Coverdale focuses much attention on disrupting the causes and consequences of criminal justice involvement for women, trans and non-binary people in our communities. By advocating for improved access to justice, reform, and systems level change, we support community based programs that address poverty, systemic racism, discrimination, violence and harm that women and trans people experience. Some of this work includes:

  • Provincial Bail Verification and Supervision Committee 

  • Criminal Justice Transformation Group- COVID-19 Working Group: Virtual Court, Police Charging & Release Practices, Bail Verification and Supportive Housing 

  • Nova Scotia Trafficking Elimination Partnership: 2SLGBTQ+ Working Group, African NS Working Group

  • 2SLGBTQ+JUSTICE: Exploring the experiences of criminalized queer and trans people in NS

  • Women and Children First Subcommittee of the Metro Interagency Committee on Family Violence

  • Metro Inter-agency Meeting

  • Dalhousie Legal Aid Board of Directors 

  • Nova Scotia HEPC Coalition