LACBA Domestic Violence Legal Services Project
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Violence or threats of immediate violence by a spouse, ex-spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, and certain close family members constitutes domestic violence.
HOW DOES SOMEONE QUALIFY TO BE ASSISTED THROUGH THE PROJECT?
The person must be a victim of violence. We have no financial guidelines for qualification.
WHAT TYPES OF SERVICES DOES THE PROJECT PROVIDE?
The Project provides legal services to victims of violence. We assist with the preparation of paperwork needed to get temporary restraining orders. We assist victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, as well as child abuse. The Project also prepares victims for their hearings, assists them with interaction with local law enforcement, and provides them with contacts to local shelters for safety. We also provide training for local law enforcement and a CLE domestic violence training session two twice per year.
DOES THE PROJECT ASSIST WITH CHILD CUSTODY CASES?
The Project only assists with child custody in matters where domestic violence is involved. Interim custody orders may be requested in the petition for the temporary restraining order.
WILL THE ABUSER HAVE TO KNOW THAT I HAVE FILED?
A Temporary Restraining Order is a public record. In order to obtain a Restraining Order After Hearing, the Respondent (the person you are filing against) must be served prior to the hearing. We will explain how that process takes place.
IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOMELESSNESS?
The relationship between Domestic Violence and Homelessness is the relationship between violence and poverty. The poor have limited safety options. The homeless victim of domestic violence is less likely to be able to keep him/herself safe.
IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND GANG ACTIVITY?
The relationship between Domestic Violence and Criminal Street Gang violence appears to be increasing. Victims report that ex-husbands or ex-boyfriends who are members of gangs or are gang affiliated threaten to harm them either directly or indirectly via a fellow gang member. Since gang life is territorial, the victim often feels unsafe in her entire neighborhood.
WHAT TYPE OF COMMUNITY REFERRALS DOES THE PROJECT PROVIDE?
The Project provides referrals to numerous organizations throughout the county. Clients may also be provided with referrals for shelters, food banks, and other social services.
WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU WORK WITH THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN ESTABLISHED IN LOS ANGELES?
The Project has been established in the Central District of the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1986. The Project works with many organizations throughout the county. Some of the organizations are:
|Alliance for Children's Rights
Asian Pacific American Legal Center
Center for Law and Justice
Harriet Buhai Center
Jackie Robinson Center
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Neighborhood Legal Services
The Project also works closely with the Los Angeles Superior Court, attending meetings with judicial officers and court staff. The Project works with local law enforcement agencies by participating in the training of officers on domestic violence issues.
HOW HAS IT DEVELOPED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS?
Initially, the Project had a small group of volunteers. There was one desk, which was positioned in a corner in Department 8 at Los Angeles Superior Court. Now, the Project has its own clinic space in Room 235 at Stanley Mosk Courthouse with over 150 volunteers annually and has added a second location at the Family Justice Center-Central Bureau. Since inception, the Project has assisted more than 100,000 victims of violence.
WHAT TYPE OF RESOURCES IS THE PROJECT INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING?
The Project would like to continue to provide legal services for victims of violence. The demand for services has remained steady, but financial resources have dwindled.
WHAT IS THE MALE TO FEMALE RATIO THAT THE PROJECT ASSISTS?
Approximately 80% of the Projects clients are female.
HOW DO YOU QUALIFY TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER?
Volunteers are asked to volunteer a minimum of six hours per month, for a period of seven months. Volunteers need to be computer literate and be able to work comfortably on a one-on-one basis with victims of violence. Volunteers are usually attorneys, paralegals, or law students.
DOES THE PROJECT WORK WITH THE STATE ADULT AND CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES?
Many of the Project's referrals come from DCFS and CPS, specifically when the minor is in danger of violence.
HOW DOES THE PROJECT RECEIVE THE MAJORITY OF ITS REFERRALS?
Local law enforcement agencies provide the majority of referrals. Other referral sources are DCFS, CPS, community organizations, Los Angeles Superior Court, and Judicial Officers. Many of our clients refer their friends and family members to us.
WHAT TYPES OF FOLLOW UP SERVICES ARE PROVIDED?
The Project provides services to any client who comes to our Project with questions, including follow-up questions post filing. Many clients return again and again with questions about their existing orders or requesting extensions of their orders. We assist them in dealing with local law enforcement agencies as to the service or enforcement of their orders. We assist them in finding shelter and provide the victim with referrals for government benefits.
For information contact Sara Rondon by email.
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