Domestic Violence Program

I’m just a regular person, and I believe regular people should take a stand against domestic violence. We need to add our voices in support of survivors. And so, I do.
Tom Renkes, a DCVLP volunteer lawyer, on representing victims in court

DCVLP volunteers protect domestic violence survivors and their children by obtaining civil protection orders (or “stay-away” orders), as well as favorable custody and divorce orders, on their behalf.

Civil Protection Orders

DCVLP helps survivors of domestic violence achieve safety and stability in their lives by obtaining civil protection orders (CPOs) against their abusers (also known as “stay-away” orders). CPO cases in DC Superior Court are handled as emergency proceedings to ensure the safety of the petitioner and her children.

CPOs last for a period of one year, and may also grant temporary custody and child support to the victim, and order the abuser to obtain counseling for drugs or domestic violence. Volunteers also frequently help their clients in proceedings to extend, modify, or enforce their CPOs.

Representing a domestic violence survivor in a CPO case is an excellent opportunity to gain in-court litigation experience in a very short time. CPO cases typically require 12-15 hours of work over a period of only two weeks. (Occasionally, cases may be continued in two week increments until they are resolved.)

To Volunteer: If you are an attorney interested in volunteering on a CPO case, please submit your volunteer registration form then contact Emilia Plater-Zyberk, Volunteer Coordinator, for information on trainings.

Family Law

They say it takes a domestic violence victim seven tries to leave her abuser. When DCVLP represents domestic violence survivors in family law cases – including divorce and custody cases – they have made the decision to leave their abuser for good.

Most of DCVLP’s family law clients have already obtained temporary relief through a civil protection order. Volunteers then help the client obtain a more permanent separation from the abusive relationship, including an long-term custody arrangement that will protect the client and her children from harm.

Volunteering on a family law case is a great opportunity for volunteers seeking experience in civil litigation. Family law cases involve a full range of litigation tasks, including discovery, negotiation, motions practice, and often trial.

To Volunteer: If you are an attorney interested in volunteering on a family law case, please submit your volunteer registration form, then contact Emilia Plater-Zyberk, Volunteer Coordinator, for information on trainings.

 

To hear the stories of volunteers and clients, please view the video below.