Combining advocacy, assistance, and first response services, the Legal Program of A Woman’s Place (AWP), through three key components, helps victims of domestic and dating abuse and violence navigate the criminal and civil justice systems, while providing ongoing advocacy and training to individuals, agencies, and institutions within the justice system to create lasting social change.
Explore the information below to learn more about AWP's Legal Program.
Civil Legal Representation Program
AWP’s Civil Legal Representation (CLR) Program is part of a statewide effort spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). Legal representation is a crucial tool for victims of domestic violence to live free and safe from their abusers and make informed decisions about their lives. Lack of resources and information often creates a challenge for accessing and obtaining relief from the legal system. Many abusers use the judicial process to harass and intimidate victims. For some, fear of retaliation from the abuser deters them from seeking help from the courts. AWP’s CLR Program provides legal representation and advice to victims of domestic violence in a variety of complex matters such as custody, support, divorce, equitable distribution, and protection from abuse proceedings. The program partners with other organizations to assist victims in obtaining immigration relief and resolving landlord tenant issues. AWP’s CLR Program is dedicated to promoting safety and autonomy for victims of domestic violence and improving the civil justice system through advocacy.
For more information on the Civil Legal Representation Program, please contact Managing Attorney Lauren Bucksner at 215.230.4840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Advocacy Program
AWP’s Legal Advocacy Program provides information, legal options, referrals, and support to victims of domestic and dating abuse and violence seeking justice through the legal system. Staffed with lay advocates, legal advice is not given, but information shared about the law including what legal options are available and how to access legal recourse. Individuals seeking services and support from the Legal Advocacy Program choose what, if any, legal action they wish to take. Advocates do not recommend a particular direction, but will support whatever decision is made while providing information, options counseling, empowerment crisis counseling, emotional support, safety planning, assistance with filing a Protection from Abuse Petition (PFA), and court accompaniment to PFA hearings. AWP’s Legal Advocacy Program partners with the Legal Aid of Southeastern PA in an effort to ensure legal representation for individuals in court.
For more information on the Legal Advocacy Program, please contact Legal Advocacy Carol Gaughan, at 215.348.0445 x102 or email@example.com.
The First Response Team at AWP provides 24-hour in-person emergency crisis counseling, safety planning, information, education, and referrals to victims immediately following an incident of domestic abuse. This service is provided county-wide to all 42 police departments. First Response Advocates provide continuous follow-up support and counseling to victims navigating the criminal justice system assisting with Victim’s Compensation, Victim Impact Statements, and referrals to meet their needs. Additionally, they partner with community police department in educating officers regarding the concerns and needs of victims of domestic and dating abuse and violence. Currently, police officers and advocates are collaborating on the utilization of a Risk Assessment Tool when responding to domestic calls. Victims are asked a series of questions to assist the officer in evaluating the potential lethality to the victims and, possibly, to police officers.
For more information on First Response, please contact First Response Manager Lisa Tucholski, at 215.348.0851 x105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Last Year, AWP...
- Provided 620 hours of First Response services.
- Helped victims file for 615 Protection From Abuse Orders (PFAs).
- Accompanied 689 individuals to court for a total of 1,204 hours.