What We Do

Domestic Violence Program

woman thinkingCivil Protection Orders: In one of the first steps in breaking the cycle of violence, DCVLP lawyers represent victims in obtaining CPOs ordering their abusers to stay away. To further safeguard the victim and her children, we request child custody and support, safe visitation arrangements, and restitution. We may also request the removal of the abuser from the home to protect the family from becoming homeless.

Family Law: To maximize the long-term safety of victims and their children, DCVLP lawyers represent clients in divorce, child custody and visitation cases. To ensure the financial stability of the family, we request ongoing financial support and address property division issues.

Domestic Violence Resource Clinic

Photo of Domestic Violence Resource Clinic staff in October 2015With the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), The Anchor Fund, and My Sister’s Place, we provide victims access to legal services, housing assistance, counseling and and emergency financial assistance at our weekly Domestic Violence Resource Clinic. Our walk-in clinic is child-friendly and accessible by public transportation. Services are available in Spanish. Additional services include transportation assistance, substance abuse counseling and public benefits guidance. See our flyers below for more info.

Child Advocacy Program

joeyDC Superior Court judges appoint DCVLP volunteer attorneys as Guardians ad Litem to represent vulnerable children who are being abused or neglected, or are at risk of serious harm from parental substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, or incarceration.

Our court-appointed volunteer and staff lawyers conduct a thorough investigation of the child’s home life, including interviewing the child, parents, other family members, teachers, counselors, medical providers, and others involved in the child’s life.  They also review police reports, criminal records, child protective service agency reports, and educational and medical records. Throughout the course of the case, the lawyers attend hearings to present their investigative observations and make recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation that is in the best interests of the child.

Our well-trained attorneys provide a voice in court for these young victims with the goal of ensuring a safe and secure home for each child.  In 2015, we did just that for 102 at-risk children.

Support Services

DCVLP’s Case Manager and Client Advocate, a licensed clinical social worker, provides essential support services to our domestic violence clients and at-risk children. For our domestic violence clients, she provides crisis counseling, safety planning, case management, and referrals for housing, counseling, emergency financial assistance and more. She also follows up with our domestic violence clients periodically to ensure that they remain safe from violence and to offer extended legal and social services. For our at-risk children, she provides referrals for counseling, trauma therapy, health services, and educational resources.

As a client so eloquently wrote in an email to our Case Manager — our support services make a difference:

From your tone, to your spaces to let me have a moment, to your careful explanations … I thank you. You are truly a gem. It is especially comforting after having so many doors slammed in my face and my life turned on its head.