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During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, LawHelp Provides Resources to Stop the Cycle of Violence

Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Organization: Pro Bono Net
  • Source: National

For Immediate Release

During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, LawHelp Provides Resources to Stop the Cycle of Violence
Legal Information Site Offers Referrals, Information and Self-help Tools

New York – October 12, 2012

One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. This October, as we mark National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Pro Bono Net wants individuals to know about resources that are available for domestic violence victims and advocates. LawHelp (www.LawHelp.org), a national network of nonprofit legal information websites, helps individuals find free legal aid in their communities, answers to their questions about their legal rights and self-help tools, ultimately empowering them to help themselves. 

Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors that often leave the victim feeling isolated. With no other options, the cycle of violence often continues. LawHelp provides crucial information about domestic violence in an easy to understand format, including what constitutes abusive behavior; orders of protection; issues related to housing rights, public benefits and children; and the needs of special populations such as immigrants. LawHelp also offers referrals to local legal aid organizations that can help. Many resources are available in languages other than English.

LawHelp was developed ten years ago by Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged.  The LawHelp network assists more than 4.3 million visitors per year in 25 states nationwide.  Many state websites include links to LawHelp Interactive, a free, online system for completing legal forms, allowing victims and advocates to quickly and easily find and fill out needed documents such as a court form to obtain an order of protection. LawHelp was developed with support from the Legal Services Corporation.

Attorneys looking to get involved in the fight against domestic violence can visit the National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory (www.probono.net/dv), which offers a range of pro bono opportunities including filing an order of protection, doing research for advocacy, and providing legal help to immigrant victims of domestic violence. The need for volunteer attorney participation cannot be understated, as studies show that the collective civil legal aid effort is meeting only about 20% of the legal needs of low-income people.

“Victims of domestic violence may not know where to turn for critically needed legal assistance and, in many cases, cannot afford to hire an attorney,” said Liz Keith, LawHelp Program Manager at Pro Bono Net.  “LawHelp can easily be accessed from anywhere, for example at a computer at a public library, to find referrals for free legal services, information about legal rights and, often, free online forms and other tools for self-help.”

About Pro Bono Net
Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology and increased volunteer lawyer participation.  Pro Bono Net uses innovative web-based platforms—www.probono.net, www.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org —to recruit and support volunteer lawyers and provide direct information and tools for self representation to low-income communities.   Pro Bono Net has also developed Pro Bono Manager, pro bono practice management software that helps AmLaw 200 law firms increase pro bono participation, manage pro bono caseloads more efficiently and raise internal and external awareness of pro bono efforts.  For more information, please visit www.probono.net.

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