Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Oct 26

2021

Spotlight–Survivor Anna Jones

This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we honor our clients like Anna Jones, who has bravely shared her own story and given us a somber reminder about the many parents and children who have yet to reach safety. Hear more from Anna here:

Oct 25

2021

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status—An Option for Some Immigrant Child Survivors

When I met Dalia, she was as quiet as the grave. She had good reason to be withdrawn and mistrustful, hiding even her eyes behind her hair. When Dalia was a few months old, her mother fled from domestic violence in El Salvador to the United States, leaving her daughter behind with a substance-abusing father. After years of being passed around to distracted relatives, Dalia’s father was shot and killed by the police when a drug deal went awry.

Dalia became a street child, sleeping in a shed and gathering scrap metal. One day her mother finally managed to gather together the money to have Dalia transported by smugglers on the dangerous journey through Mexico to the Texas border. Like most children arriving in the US without a parent, Dalia was placed in a detention center (or “foster”) facility funded by the Department of Health and Human Services for about a month before being released to live with her mom here in DC. And like every other immigrant and refugee, Dalia has no right to a public defender for her pending deportation case. Kids like Dalia, no matter how young, must navigate a hostile and complex immigration system, in English, with whatever resources their guardians can spare. Organizations like Legal Aid can only meet a fraction of the need for free and affordable services to fill the gap. Read more →

Oct 21

2021

Reminder Not to Miss DC Pro Bono Week Events

Ready to learn more about local pro bono opportunities and kick off DC Pro Bono Week? Then you won’t want to miss this year’s Pro Bono Goes Local, a launch celebration on Friday, October 22, from 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

This launch event will begin with opening remarks from Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby from the D.C. Court of Appeals, and Chief Judge Josey-Herring from the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. We’ll share the many ways DC law firms are giving back through a pro bono initiative called DC Represents and conclude with a series of updates and recent developments in six different practice areas. You’ll get an inside view from local experts on current developments in civil justice and updates on the most urgent pro bono needs we are facing during this critical time in our community. Read more →

Oct 20

2021

Recent Law Changes Expand Protections for Survivors

On December 15, 2020, the D.C. Council passed the Intrafamily Offenses and Anti-Stalking Orders Amendment Act of 2020. The new law, which took effect on April 27 of this year, significantly expands protections for domestic violence survivors. Legal Aid is proud to be part of the group of advocates that drafted and supported these reforms.

A few of the many reforms in this bill are:

Read more →

Oct 19

2021

5 Common Signs of Financial Abuse

Many people who have never experienced domestic violence ask, “If someone’s being abused, why don’t they just leave?” The answer is abusers use very effective tactics to gain control and trap victims in a relationship. Survivors know “just leaving” usually takes both careful preparation and a support network, and the days right before and after leaving are the most physically dangerous. One common control tactic is financial abuse, which occurs in up to 99% of abusive relationships.

Although financial abuse is very common, it’s not as well-recognized as other forms of abuse like hitting, shoving, or verbal threats of harm. Financial abuse means controlling access to resources to make a victim isolated and dependent on their abuser for survival needs. Read more →