For victims of domestic violence and abuse, timely access to legal services is critical. Without expert legal advice from an attorney, the complexities of the legal system can simply be too overwhelming. Research from the Institute for Policy Integrity shows that only 32% of abuse victims without an attorney obtained a protective order versus 83% with representation. The same research reports that 87% of domestic violence victims with legal representation who reported abuse to the court felt it “helped stop the physical abuse.”
There is significant evidence that domestic violence victims who use an attorney experience greater emotional, safety, and economic outcomes than those who do not. However, very few victims choose to go without legal representation. In fact, many simply don’t have a choice because of lack of financial means.
In the American criminal justice system, accused batterers have the right to a free court-appointed attorney while the victim has no legal right to free or even reduced-cost legal representation.
That presents a significant problem for millions of abuse victims each year. A victim who does not have access to an attorney is much more likely to not receive a protective order, miss important court dates, fail to file the correct paperwork, and be re-abused.
That’s why HAWC offers legal services to victims of abuse. Our trained legal advocates provide advice, assistance, and, depending on availability, representation for abuse survivors who seek a life free from fear and violence. Part of our mission is to make these services immediately available for everyone who needs them.
The most direct way we can help more domestic violence survivors is by bringing in more attorneys, legal advocates, and trained volunteers to the HAWC family.
By supporting our legal service efforts, you’re giving thousands of domestic violence victims the chance to be safe from physical, emotional, and economic harm. Specifically, each donation goes towards:
- Supporting victims in the application process and during hearings
- Guidance on key topics like divorce hearings, custody matters, and housing status
- Direct legal representation for those who need it the most
The legal services offered by HAWC empower survivors of domestic abuse and their loved ones to start the journey towards safety and happiness.