In the last three years, NHLA has been able to dramatically increase staffing for the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP), thanks in large part to federal grant funding.
What does that mean on the ground for domestic violence survivors?
It means immediate access to highly-qualified legal aid in the first moments they break away from an abusive partner.
The increased funding allows NHLA to station DVAP advocates in domestic violence crisis centers in eight of New Hampshire’s 10 counties. At the centers, the advocates counsel victims on the proper way to file for a protective order and begin the process of ending their abusive relationship and accessing safe housing.
In September 2018 alone, DVAP advocates received 30 referrals from crisis center staff. DVAP was able to take on about half of the cases, said DVAP Director Erin Jasina.
“Even with the increased staff, we still can’t serve every victim who comes to us,” she said. “But we are reaching more people, and we are reaching them at a critical moment when they are establishing the first legal record of their abuse. We’re equipping victims to present stronger petitions for protective orders, a crucial first step in rebuilding their lives in safety.”
The impact of increased funding for legal aid is remarkable: More funding means more staff, which means more people have access to justice, to protect themselves and their families.
However, the future of federal funding for legal aid to support victims of domestic violence and other crimes is uncertain. Your gift to the Campaign is crucial for ensuring this program can continue to reach victims when they most need access to justice.