Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Help Victims of Domestic Violence Get Access to Legal Resources

From NOW:

Put Volunteer Attorneys to Work for Domestic Violence Survivors
Write Your Senators

Survivors of domestic abuse face enough adversity. With legal assistance often beyond their reach, abused women may experience the justice system as yet another hurdle to overcome.

Tell Congress you agree that survivors of domestic abuse should have access to the same legal resources so readily available to more fortunate and affluent members of society.

The National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act (S.1515), introduced by Senator Joe Biden (D-Del), meets this demand for legal assistance by setting in motion an effort to mobilize 100,000 volunteer attorneys willing to work on behalf of survivors of abuse.

Take Action: Ask your senators to sponsor S.1515!

Studies estimate that fewer than one in five low-income survivors of domestic violence ever even see a lawyer. Yet legal advice is key for these women as they seek help from the police or court system. Often, stopping the violence hinges on the ability to obtain effective protection orders, initiate separation proceedings, or design safe child custody arrangements. Without legal knowledge, these options are not accessible.

Existing programs, like the Violence Against Women Act, assist women suffering domestic abuse but do not specifically address access to legal services. This network aims to fill that gap by working mostly with resources already in place. There are thousands of lawyers willing to volunteer to assist in domestic violence situations, but the mechanisms are not in place in most areas. S.1515 will allocate federal funds to create a network of those lawyers and match them to clients. The act will also give the National Domestic Violence Hotline $500,000 so it can provide legal referrals to victims who call in requesting help.

Passage of the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act will place adequate legal aid within reach of the people who need it most, proving that the justice system works for-not against-victims of domestic abuse.

Thank your senators if they are already sponsors and urge others to sign on right away! Our automated system will provide the appropriate sample message, which you can edit if you wish.

The bill needs more legislative support! Tell your senator that ending violence against women is a priority.

And can I say that I just love that this was introduced by Senator Biden?

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