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Expanding Presence in Queens: inMotion opens new office in Kew Gardens

Saturday, September 13, 2008

  • Organization: Her Justice

This article has been reprinted with special permission from What's New, Summer 2008, inMotion, Inc.

On-site partner at the New York City Family Justice Center

As part of a citywide coalition to build an ever-stronger community of support for victims of domestic violence, inMotion has joined forces with the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence as an on-site partner at the newly constructed New York City Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens, Queens.

The New York City Family Justice Center opened its doors in Queens on July 21. Within the first week, women from Bangladesh, Ecuador, Guyana, India, the Philippines, Poland and Romania received on-the-spot access to the Center's free legal and social services.

"Our first client, Maimun, a young mother from Guyana, accomplished in one afternoon what might have otherwise taken weeks," shares Patricia Telfort, inMotion legal services coordinator. "In just one visit, Maimun received
legal advice from inMotion (made possible by being able to access a copy of her criminal order of protection from the District Attorney's on-site office) and developed a safety plan with a Safe Horizon counselor."

"Our City has made investigating, prosecuting and preventing all domestic violence crimes a top priority," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Domestic violence creates financial, emotional and, at times, physical scars. By making it as easy as possible for victims and their families to access services, many New Yorkers are given the opportunity to start over again."

Located near a primary public transportation hub in Kew Gardens, the Center is easily accessible and only a few short steps away from the doors of the Queens County Criminal and Integrated Domestic Violence Courts.

InMotion's office at the Center is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Pictured above
Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomes visitors to the New York City Family Justice Center ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 15. Front left: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, District Attorney Richard Brown. Back left: Cindy Dyer, director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice; Joe and Ali Torre, Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation; and Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez, Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence. Photo by Spencer Tucker, City Hall Photographer. Ribbon Cutting photo image from the opening and quotes from Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Jimenez republished with permission from the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV).

One-stop service center for victims of domestic violence

In only one visit, it is now possible for a Queens domestic violence survivor to meet with law enforcement, petition for an order of protection, receive legal advice about custody and child support, speak with a trained counselor, receive assistance in accessing emergency shelter, and apply for housing or financial assistance-all while their children play safely in the next room.

No appointments are required to walk into the Center. When a domestic violence
survivor arrives, they are immediately paired with a personal advocate who speaks their native language (or who can access the services of an interpreter through Language Line Services, a company that provides immediate, by-phone interpretation in 170 languages). The advocate assesses their situation, shares information about the diverse resources available at the Center and directs them to the services they need. The advocate also arranges appointments on their behalf with on-site service providers-such as inMotion-and provides ongoing case management support as they move forward to rebuild their life.

Protecting Queens abuse victims

As an on-site partner at the Center, inMotion will take on some of its most complex civil cases, providing free legal assistance with matrimonial, family and immigration matters.
Our services include:
• Child support, spousal support, child custody, child visitation and orders of protection in the Queens County Family and Integrated Domestic Violence Courts
• Uncontested and contested divorces in Queens County Supreme Court
• Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and battered spouse waivers, where a client seeks to obtain legal immigration status without the assistance of her abusive spouse or former spouse
• Social work support services including safety planning, crisis management, assistance obtaining emergency shelter or housing,access to public benefits and counseling

All women who come to inMotion through the Center will be screened for placement with a pro bono attorney or an on-site litigation extern from one of our participating Corporate Partner law firms. If a client cannot be given a volunteer attorney, our staff will provide free legal advice and prepare the necessary court papers so that she can file her own motion in court. We will also offer referrals to sister legal services providers who may be able to take on her case.

Pictured above
The grand opening! Left to right: Catherine Douglass, Esq., inMotion executive director; Brad Eric Scheler, Esq., chair, board of directors; Alison Napack Kallman, Esq., board member; Heidi Lee Henderson, Esq., director, legal and social services; and Myron Trepper, senior counsel, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

About the New York City Family Justice Center Initiative

Led by the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, the New York City Family Justice Center Initiative brings together domestic violence prosecutors and service providers in one centralized location so that abuse survivors are able to access the support they need more effectively and efficiently. All services are free and available regardless of sex, age, nationality or sexual orientation. Survivors are able to access services in their native language, while their children receive child care from professionally trained staff. The New York City Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens is the second domestic violence crisis center to open in the City.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched the first Center in downtown Brooklyn in July, 2005. Since that time, the Brooklyn Center has served over 11,000 clients and averages 1,000 client visits per month. InMotion recently joined the Brooklyn Center as an off-site referral partner in June, 2008.

Based on the Brooklyn Center's success, the City has committed to opening additional centers. Following Queens, a Bronx center is expected to open by the end of 2009.

To learn more about InMotion's presence at the New York City Family Justice Center or how you can volunteer, please go to inMotion's web site.

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