Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $300,000)
Center for Hope and Safety(CHS) Legal Services Program for Victims of Domestic Violence (LSP), helps fill the critical and growing need for free, skilled, culturally sensitive legal support for domestic violence (DV) victims in Bergen County, NJ.
Few DV programs in Bergen County provide free legal representation, and those attorneys typically only represent clients for Final Restraining Orders. To help fill this critical need, CHS launched its Legal Services Program (LSP) for victims of domestic violence in 2016 staffed by one full-time attorney and a bi-lingual program administrator with a combination of private and public funding. The program has expanded to include three full-time attorneys, a legal administrator, and a legal program coordinator whose roles now include paralegal activities and responsibilities.
LSP provides a broad array of free legal counsel and advice in matters including temporary and final restraining orders, divorce, child custody and visitation, and immigration matters, ensuring access to legal representation for those who previously would not have been able to afford it. These funds will assist with providing comprehensive legal services to DV victims with the overarching goal to assist in stabilizing the emotional health and safety of domestic crime victims through legal avenues.