New Grant Encourages Lawyers To Help Victims Of Domestic Violence
Published on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - COMMENTS (0)
Availability of legal resources is an important factor in the reduction of domestic violence, according to a 2002 study by economists at Colgate and the University of Arkansas. Yet in Nassau County there is a backlog of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in need of legal services; dozens who have sought divorces have had to wait nearly a year to obtain assistance with their civil legal problems.
To help improve this situation, the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence has created the Legal Resource Network, a new public-service initiative. The program is designed to recruit and train a network of attorneys willing to represent victims on a no-fee, pro bono basis. The network is funded by a federal grant secured through the work of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. Congresswoman McCarthy brought the funding to the Coalition with the support of the entire Long Island congressional delegation, including Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressmen Gary Ackerman, Peter T. King, and Steve Israel.
This grant comes at an opportune time. New York’s Division of Criminal Justice has just reported that domestic-violence homicides increased by 7% statewide in 2008 and that intimate-partner homicides tripled. Half of all adult female homicide victims were killed by their intimate partner. With the American Bar Association sponsoring the first National Pro Bono Celebration, October 25–31, the network seeks to maximize the volunteer spirit of attorneys to help address domestic violence.
The Legal Resource Network’s project coordinator, Freda Wagner, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her. A Florida attorney for more than 30 years, Ms. Wagner is widely respected for her efforts in bringing together law-enforcement, legal, and social-service agencies to improve the quality of life for children and families. As division chief in the state attorney’s office, Wagner designed, implemented, and supervised both the Victims’ Rights Program and the Domestic Violence Program for the prosecutor’s office.
New York attorneys who want to make a difference in someone’s life by making a pro bono commitment to the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence should e-mail LRN@cadvnc.org.
Any resident of Nassau County who is a victim of domestic violence, rape, or sexual assault can call the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s 24-hour hotline, at 516-542-0404, for emergency safe housing and access to support services. All coalition services are free of charge.Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.