The pit-bull was salivating on Jenna’s neck, waiting for the order to bite her. Her husband was barely holding back the dog on its leash to make sure Jenna knew who was in charge. Jenna endured this abuse and worse during her 7-year marriage.
When she was pregnant, her husband pushed her down a flight of stairs, and she spent many days in the hospital recovering. Her husband strangled her, lifting her up by her neck. And when her 8-year-old son tried to stop his father, he hit the boy too.
Our attorneys represented Jenna to secure a “stay away” order against her husband. Then they battled Jenna’s husband for 15 months in her custody, support, and divorce cases. When he lied in court and refused to reveal his finances, we subpoenaed his financial documents to prove he could pay child support. After 9 hearings and 5 days of trial, the judge believed Jenna and granted her sole custody of her children. For further safety, he ordered visitation exchanges take place at a police station. And he granted Jenna the family home, as well as child support.
“I very much enjoyed my time as a ‘client’ even though of course I wish I hadn’t needed to have become one … it was a pleasure having the entire force of the awesome DCVLP superwomen on my side, from filing the petition to the legal clinic to Victory Day.”
A Victim No More: Julia’s Story
When Julia’s boyfriend suddenly lost his job, things turned ugly. He took out his anger on Julia. One night, during an argument about money, he grabbed her and choked her until she passed out. When she awoke, he told her that she could never leave him. That’s when Julia realized that her life depended on moving out and leaving her boyfriend.
She turned to DCVLP for help. We represented her in court and obtained a civil protection order on her behalf. When Julia’s phone broke on the day of the hearing, DCVLP’s social worker contacted our partners at The Anchor Fund who bought her a new one that very same day. The Anchor Fund also paid Julia’s housing application fees to help her get back on her feet.
Julia is now in her own apartment, working, and enjoying life once again.
Out of Harm’s Way: Caleb’s Story
Caleb is only 7 years old, but has already seen a lifetime’s worth of pain. Fortunately, DCVLP lawyers were able to give a voice in court.
Caleb’s parents were fighting for custody in DC Superior Court. Caleb’s mother accused his father of never visiting Caleb, while Caleb’s father accused his mother of abusing Caleb. The judge was at a loss as to who was telling the truth. In desperation, the judge appointed DCVLP volunteer lawyers to investigate the situation and recommend a solution in Caleb’s best interest.
The volunteers spoke with Caleb, his parents, his neighbors and his teachers, and reviewed dozens of records. What they found was appalling. Caleb’s mother was mentally unstable and neglected Caleb. Caleb was showing up at school dirty and hungry. The DCVLP lawyers made an immediate request to switch custody to Caleb’s father, and the judge granted it.
Once living with his father, Caleb started to thrive, but soon he revealed the abuse was much worse than anyone imagined. Caleb was being sexually abused by his own mother. His lawyers connected him to a child therapist, who is now working with Caleb on a long-term basis. Without his DCVLP lawyers, Caleb’s story would have a sad ending. Instead, he is happy little boy enjoying being a “kid” again.
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect client privacy. Images are stock photos.