On Thursday, March 3, 2011 the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Domestic Violence Project (DVP) held a reception to celebrate 25 years of providing legal assistance to victims of domestic violence and their families at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
To visit the Domestic Violence Project's home page, click HERE.
The event, which was emceed by former California State Senator Sheila James Kuehl, honored judicial, law enforcement and city officials for their role in raising awareness of the need to help victims of domestic violence, including Los Angeles County Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. We also honored those LACBA leaders who recognized the need to provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence and those who have continued to fulfill the Project's original mission.
Since its founding in 1986, DVP has helped more than 100,000 victims – many of whom feel they are in personal danger and have recently suffered horrific abuse – navigate the legal system at a critical point in their lives. Most are referred to DVP by law enforcement, shelters and social workers, while others are driven by their personal desire for help.
Last year alone, a staff of three, and hundreds of volunteer attorneys helped more than 10,000 women, children and men either obtain a Temporary Restraining Order, receive counsel and advice, or preparation for their judicial hearings at the Los Angeles Superior Court's Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles and the Pasadena Courthouse. Most are referred to DVP by law enforcement, shelters and social workers, while others are driven by their personal desire for help.
Some of the individuals we helped include people like Amelia and Oneida:
• Amelia came to DVP unaware of the legal protections she was provided under the law. Her husband had been arrested for domestic violence, but she was unsure of her rights and where to turn for help. The only thing Amelia knew was that the abuse had gotten worse after his arrest, and when he was really mad, he threw her bedding onto the front lawn and forced her to sleep outside. With little understanding of the judicial system, Amelia feared she had no recourse because she was no safer than before the arrest. A DVP attorney volunteer assisted Amelia. The attorney explained that her husband took a "no contest" in the charge and was sentenced to time served and probation. The terms of his probation included taking 52 Domestic Violence classes, which he didn't take, and a Criminal Protective Order preventing him from returning home. Her husband was in violation of his probation. Amelia left DVP armed with a copy of her Criminal Protection Order and the information necessary for her to enforce the move-out provision.
• Oneida moved too quickly by allowing her new boyfriend to move in shortly after they started dating, took a job closer to home and stopped seeing family and friends because he was jealous. The abuse started with small shoves that grew into hard shoves forcing her to wear long sleeve shirts to cover the bruises on her arms and to use make-up to hide the bruises on her face. But when he tied her up and hung her from the door frame she'd had enough and called police. While her ex-boyfriend was in jail, Oneida attended counseling, found a better job and reconnected with family and friends. Then the letters started. She ignored most of the letters, but as his release date approached she became worried because he threatened to "reunite with her" and that "they'd better work things out or else." He also hinted that he would kidnap and murder her. Oneida came to DVP for help and was assisted by one of our attorney volunteers in preparing a petition for a restraining order which was granted in its entirety the same day. She was also referred to social service agencies and Victim's Compensation Fund for possible assistance in moving to a different apartment.
While domestic violence continues to be a national problem, the work we do makes a difference in the lives of the people we help. Nationwide, studies have shown that 80 percent of those who received a restraining order reported the abuse stopped or was greatly reduced.
Click here for complete information about the event, including the list of speakers.
Everyone at DVP, including those we help, thank you for your continued support.
Watch a video about the DVP, and listen to those who have benefited from it over the years by clicking HERE.;