Women reach out to me regularly. What is the number one reason women reach out to me? Family Court issues. Primarily, custody challenges.

There is a lack of legal assistance available to survivors of domestic abuse that are attempting to save their children from the abusive parent. Often, when survivors are referred to non-profits or pro-bono legal services, they run into the following barriers:

  1. Workers/lawyers that are overworked and cannot take on any additional survivors to assist.
  2. In the case of Officer Involved Domestic Violence survivors, the cases are so extensive that workers cannot devote resources.
  3. Also, in the case of Officer Involved Domestic Violence survivors, there are workers that do not want to get involved with challenging a law enforcement officer. There is a fear of retaliation.
  4. Some service providers that are offering pro-bono legal assistance do not understand the complexities of domestic violence and do more harm to the survivor and children.
  5. It is not unusual for case workers within family law and child protection services to discount survivors when the abusive spouse is a law enforcement officer. There are some people that refuse to believe a cop can commit such heinous acts of cruelty.
  6. Many women end up representing themselves in court, pro se, and this is not always ideal.
  7. Unless a lawyer understands domestic violence and has received specialized training, they may not represent their client in a fair manner.
  8. Money. Money rules. Family court is a business. If a survivor has limited resources and her abuser has access to more money, it creates a power imbalance. The spouse will be able to afford a “better” lawyer, expert testimony, etc…

The system tends to re-traumatize women and children. I do not promote myself as knowing everything about VAWA funding, but it would be ideal if a large amount could be dispensed to organizations devoted to providing legal assistance to correct the power imbalance.