Pro Bono News

YWCA Civil Legal Clinic Helps Victims of Domestic Abuse

Thursday, July 19, 2018

YWCA Civil Legal Clinic Helps Victims of Domestic Abuse

"YWCA Greenwich has announced the launch of a new Civil Legal Clinic (CLC) that provides free civil legal services to victims of domestic violence who are being served by YWCA Domestic Abuse Services (DAS). Abusers often use the legal system to continue to torment their victims, and many victims of domestic violence either don’t have the assets or don’t have access to their finances to pay for legal representation.

The clinic will be run by two lawyers and YWCA volunteers, Wendy DiChristina and Amy Messing. Many of the victims of intimate partner violence currently served by YWCA DAS are engaged in, or would like to initiate, civil court proceedings such as divorce, custody agreements and child support. However, many of these clients don’t meet the strict financial eligibility requirements for free legal aid from Connecticut Legal Services and do not have access to financial resources to hire a private attorney. Because of their position in this middle ground, many choose to delay filing within the court or to not file at all.

“Court proceedings are very complicated and can be especially daunting for victims of domestic abuse,” said Meredith Gold, YWCA Director, Domestic Abuse Services. “Given the potential danger of facing their abuser in court, these individuals benefit significantly by this “pro bono” guidance from these attorneys.”

The volunteer attorneys will provide consultations to current YWCA DAS clients, by appointment only. YWCA DAS clinical staff will make the referrals to the CLC. Services are not open to the public. Legal consultations are one-time meetings to go over specific questions and/or provide guidance to fill out forms or motions. One objective is to encourage self- confidence and self-reliance. Depending upon the complexity of the case, clients may receive additional consultations as follow-up issues require further research..."

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