Court and Legal Advocacy

The DVCC has four attorneys and two non-attorney victim advocates on staff to provide victims of domestic violence with information, support and an understanding of their legal rights. Our advocates in the Stamford and Norwalk Criminal Courts help individuals navigate the criminal justice system and provide ongoing information and advocacy. With respect to obtaining restraining orders, our experienced attorney in Stamford Civil Court provides representation for victims of domestic violence and also provides general information on divorce, custody, property and other family law matters. Additionally, one of our victim advocates partners with the Stamford Police Department’s Special Victims Unit on home visits to provide crisis counseling, safety planning, information and referrals for victims.

 

The DVCC’s Court and Legal Advocacy Project also offers monthly Civil Legal Clinics, where attorneys provide advice and guidance to DVCC clients on matters such as divorce, child support, custody and visitation, housing, immigration, paternity and wills. The clinics are staffed by both DVCC attorneys and attorneys from the community who specialize in these areas and who generously volunteer their time.

 

 Court and legal services include:

 

  • Assistance with understanding legal proceedings
  • Assistance with understanding/obtaining protective orders
  • Attorney representation for victims of domestic violence with respect to obtaining restraining orders
  • General information on divorce, custody, property and other family law matters
  • DVCC Civil Legal Clinics provide attorneys who consult with individual clients on civil matters such as divorce, custody, support and other family law matters
  • Referral to Connecticut Legal Services for possible attorney representation in civil matters such as divorce, support, custody, welfare, child-related issues, immigration and bankruptcy
  • Home visits coordinated with the Stamford Police Department’s Special Victims Unit to provide crisis counseling, safety planning, information and referrals
  • Referral to DVCC supportive counseling services
  • Referral to DVCC SafeHouses

 

 

 

 

ADVOCATING FOR SYSTEMS CHANGE

 

DVCC legal advocates and staff attorneys also take a proactive role in assessing current domestic violence laws and policies and recommending changes in those laws and policies in order to improve our communities’ ability to respond effectively to the needs of victims. They have met one-on-one with local legislators to ensure open, ongoing dialogue and have provided written and oral testimony to legislators regarding recommended changes in domestic violence legislation. As a result, one of our staff attorneys was named in 2011 to sit on the Connecticut General Assembly’s Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence Task Force, charged with developing a model policy for law enforcement response to domestic violence. In July 2012, the same DVCC staff attorney was appointed to the state’s Family Violence Model Policy Governing Council, which will oversee the newly enacted Model Policy for the next four years. Legal advocates are also partnering with the Norwalk Police Department on a Lethality Assessment Project designed to help law enforcement identify potentially lethal domestic violence situations and assist victims in the Norwalk community with obtaining immediate safety planning services.

 

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