Congressional Briefing to Highlight Legal Aid’s Role in Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors

October 24, 2017

WASHINGTON – A panel of experts will discuss how legal aid programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) assist victims of domestic violence at a congressional briefing on October 26. The briefing, “Legal Aid’s Role in Responding to Domestic Violence,” is held in cooperation with Representative Susan Brooks (IN-5) and Representative Joe Kennedy III (MA-4), co-founders of the Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus.

Millions of Americans experience domestic violence every year. Legal aid organizations are critical to protecting them and their families and to helping survivors overcome associated legal problems that involve their safety and stability. Between 2012 and 2016, LSC-funded programs closed more than half a million domestic violence cases for low-income individuals. 

Legal aid organizations prevent future violence by obtaining and enforcing protective orders in court. Survivors rate the filing of a protective order as one of the two most effective tools for stopping domestic violence, second only to leaving the abuser. These organizations also secure child custody orders for clients. They provide needed legal services in matters related to separation and divorce proceedings, employment, and financial and housing problems. Across the country, legal aid attorneys are helping domestic violence survivors gain economic independence and rebuild their lives. 

 The briefing will feature four panelists discussing the importance of civil legal aid to survivors. The speakers include:

Brenda B., Former Client of Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Pittsburgh, PA  

Corporal Tony Craigo, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia  

Abigail Kuzma, Former Assistant Attorney General and Chief Counsel for Victims Services and Outreach Division, Office of the Indiana Attorney General and co-founder of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic  

Adrienne Worthy, Executive Director of Legal Aid of West Virginia  

LSC President James J. Sandman will serve as moderator. Representatives Brooks and Kennedy will join LSC Chair John G. Levi in delivering remarks prior to the panel. 

The briefing will take place at 2226 Rayburn House Office Building, 12:30–1:30 p.m. EDT. Members of the press are invited to attend.  

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.