Full Civil Legal Representation for Low-Income Domestic Violence Survivors
This summer I will be working closely with Dr. Anne Bloom on drafting a white paper which addresses the crucial need for free civil legal representation for low-income domestic violence survivors. Domestic violence is alarmingly pervasive and plagues families across all socioeconomic levels, but low-income families experience both higher rates of DV as well as a wider range of DV-related legal problems. The stunning lack of free legal counsel and representation for survivors in divorce and custody proceedings exacerbates the grave power imbalance between abusers and survivors in and out of court, impeding survivors’ chance at independence and rehabilitation. Drawing from empirical data from both psychological and legal research, we will explore various ways in which meaningful, long-term civil legal representation can pull DV survivors out–and keep them out–of the vicious (and sometimes fatal) cycle of power and control.