2020 was a year that none of us could have predicted. It showed us the best and the worst that society has to offer. Our community was deeply shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for our services reached tragic levels.
Following the stay-at-home order that was issued in March of 2020 we experienced a 300% increase to our Call-In Legal Clinic, and our caseload quadrupled. With the help of hundreds of well trained and dedicated volunteer lawyers, DCVLP provided over 27,000 hours of pro bono legal services to more than 2,100 victims of domestic violence and at-risk children in the District of Columbia. This means our annual budget of $1.8 million dollars translated into $10 million+ dollars in free legal services.
Having the support of a lawyer and knowing their legal rights significantly increases a survivor’s chance of securing long-term safety and stability. During the pandemic, the already complicated legal system became nearly impossible for victims to navigate. With the Court’s remote and limited operations continually evolving, each case required more time and resources than pre-pandemic. Our ability to adjust services, respond to the needs of our community, and deepen the impact of our programs was made possible in large part through the generosity of supporters who invested in DCVLP last year.
Because of this outpouring of support, we were able to increase access points to our services, target outreach to victims, raise awareness of our services, and train volunteer attorneys to provide the highest quality legal services in a virtual setting.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of our clients along with external factors dictated changes to the way we deliver our services. As we look hopefully toward a post-pandemic future, with courts and clinics re-opening their in-person operations, we recognize that many of our adjusted services should continue, even when the pandemic no longer dictates them out of necessity. With your continued support, DCVLP stands ready and able to ensure that each person in the District of Columbia is entitled to a life free from violence and abuse.
It is my sincere wish that each volunteer, donor, sponsor, and individual acknowledged in this
report senses the immeasurable impact you’ve made in the lives of our clients. We are deeply
grateful to each one of you – our longtime supporters and our new friends.