Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $90,000)
Homesafe, Inc. proposes to implement the hiring of a third legal advocate and to cover a portion of the cost of two legal advocate positions that the agency is currently absorbing. The legal advocates educate and assist survivors by navigating the justice system, bestowing in-depth knowledge of and experience with certain aspects of the legal system. The purpose is to improve the existing comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, trauma-informed and best practices community-based program that increases the accessibility of legal advocacy services and support for victims of domestic violence in Ashtabula County. They provide individual advocacy assisting and advocating on behalf of the survivor with legal-related issues and systems advocacy evaluating how the legal system responds to survivors, identifying issues and advocating for change. Legal advocates inform survivors of their rights and options, hear their situation and provide relevant information regarding laws and let them know of available legal protections, such as a civil protection or temporary protection order. Project activities include the continuation of safety plans, creation of plans to assist clients with implementing their choices and identify how to resolve barriers, increase their social and emotional well-being by fostering self-efficacy and increasing access to resources and support; create plans that provide the ability to analyze potential risks and benefits of various legal options, and improve the domestic violence task force of Ashtabula County, Expected outcomes include the implementation of a domestic violence high risk team and a danger assessment-law enforcement program; ensuring a consistent presence in each court house with established hours and times, increased mobile advocacy to survivors, and create a plan for on-site support system for victims when law enforcement responds to a call. Training will be obtained in areas appropriate to staff needs.