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Legal Access: Helping Clients Access Justice & Peace

June 6th, 2016

By Spencer Cantrell, JCADA Legal Access Coordinator

Lauren* is a sophomore at a local university who came to JCADA in the fall of 2015 after a classmate started stalking her.This classmate came to her home and physically attacked Lauren, her father, and brother who were also home at thetime. The classmate was arrested and Lauren received a peace order against the classmate, however her legal journeyhad just begun. 

Lauren was referred to JCADA by a professor for counseling to cope with and recover from the trauma of the attack.Lauren started receiving counseling at JCADA, while also meeting regularly with the Legal Access Coordinator (LAC).Despite having a peace order already in place, Lauren still faced a variety of legal issues, both criminally and civilly. Overthe course of several months, Lauren, her clinician, and the LAC walked the path together to address her emotionalneeds through counseling and her legal needs through the Legal Access Program:

CRIMINAL CASE & ISSUES

  • Lauren’s clinician helped Lauren write her Victim Impact Statement,which was presented to the court during the sentencing phase of the criminal case against her stalker; 
  • The LAC explained to Lauren and her family what was criminal case against her classmate; 
  • The LAC assisted Lauren in pursuing criminal contempt charges against her classmate for repeatedly violating the peace order; 
  • Lauren's clinician created an emotional and physical safety plan for attending court; 
  • Lauren’s clinician and the LAC both accompanied her to court for the many hearings that were a part of the criminal proceedings; and 
  • The LAC helped Lauren apply for crime victims compensation for reimbursement for medical expenses from the assault.

CIVIL ISSUES

  • Under Title IX, Lauren received accommodations including police accompaniment around campus, and the LAC discussed with Lauren what other accommodations might be available to her; and 
  • Lauren also felt unsafe in her family's home and they needed help breaking the lease. LAC referred Lauren to a pro bono landlord-tenant attorney who helped her break the lease in accordance with domestic violence law.

This story exemplifies the broad range of legal issues that a survivor of domestic or dating abuse may face. Fortunately,via the Legal Access program, in collaboration with Lauren’s clinician and skilled members of the Attorney Network,Lauren continues to receive the holistic assistance she needs to continue on her journey. 

Interested in providing free consultations, low bono or pro bono legal assistance to JCADA clients? Interested inlearning more about the legal implications of domestic abuse? Volunteer attorneys with just an hour or two per monthcan still make a huge difference in the lives of clients. 

Contact our LAC Spencer Cantrell at legal@jcada.org or 301-315- 8040.

*Name has been changed to protect identity of client.

Posted by JCADA | Topic: Legal Access

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