Since 2008, we have provided comprehensive, pro bono legal assistance to domestic violence victims, including victims of dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and gender-based violence, at‐risk children living with abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and other dangerous circumstances, and vulnerable immigrant populations seeking humanitarian forms of immigration relief in Washington, DC. DCVLP attorneys represent victims in civil protection order, family law, and immigration cases.
To maximize the client’s chances of escaping violence and establish a safe and stable home, DCVLP’s Client Advocates provide safety planning, trauma-informed crisis intervention, ongoing emotional support, and access to critical social services such as housing assistance, counseling, and parenting classes from our many partners.
The Domestic Violence Program team, who are trained and experienced in serving victims in a trauma-informed manner, offer representation in protection order cases, family law matters including custody, child support, and divorce, and immigration cases. We provide advocacy on victims’ legal rights in criminal proceedings against abusers, housing, employment, public benefits and other matters related to finances.
Our Advocates offer wrap-around services including trauma-informed crisis intervention, safety planning, and support services to ensure clients have the tools necessary to successfully escape violence and achieve safety, stability, and self-sufficiency.
Child Advocacy Program
For 12 years, we have served as court-appointed Guardians ad litem for vulnerable children living in dangerous situations. The children we serve range in age from newborn to 17 years old. Most reside in Wards 5, 7 and 8 in the District and have experienced significant trauma resulting from growing up in homes with violence and neglect. Of the children that we have represented in the last two years:
67% witnessed domestic violence.
62% were abused, either physically or sexually.
91% either witnessed domestic violence, were abused themselves, or both.
Our 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.
RELIEF: REPRESENTATION & LEGAL SERVICES FOR IMMIGRANT FAMILIES
We provide legal services to immigrant victims of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence and vulnerable immigrant children.
Our attorneys assist with asylum claims, Violence Against Women Act self-petitions, battered spouse waivers, U-visas for victims of criminal activity, T-visas for victims of human trafficking, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, work authorizations and other forms of immigration relief.
We operate community-based clinics so victims, caregivers of at-risk children, and other disadvantaged residents can learn about their rights regarding protection orders, family law, immigration, criminal proceedings against their abusers, housing, employment, and public benefits; access free legal consultations; and receive support from our advocates. Locations include Children’s National Medical Center, Community of Hope, a church in Southwest DC.
We also operate a court-based clinic where we offer immediate legal assistance, including representation, to victims seeking safety through protection orders.