Along with being managing attorney of my estate planning and elder law practice, I am also co-founder and co-chair of the Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center, PSC.
The Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center, PSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and was founded on January 4th, 2016 by myself and attorney Evon M. Spangler. The organization currently provides pro bono legal advocacy to victims and survivors of domestic violence through monthly legal clinics held at domestic violent shelters, and is open to the clients staying there, or who have stayed there.
Evon and I have been involved throughout our lives, in different capacities, in helping women safely exit violent environments. Being passionate about helping others and providing a voice to the often voiceless, we saw an unmet need in Minnesota for pro bono legal services to women and their children who are staying at shelters. As a result, we formed the Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center, PSC.
Evon and I believe that legal advocacy plays a vital and critical role in stopping the cycle of abuse. In a recent study by the Institute for Policy Integrity, “Supporting Survivors” July 2015, the authors of the study, while acknowledging that additional studies need to be completed, determined that legal advocacy decreases the cycle of domestic abuse. As a result, we have worked on creating a means of delivering legal advocacy in a way that will be best attainable by those in need, and most effective in helping women safely exist abusive relationships and situations.
As a result, the organization has collaborated with Women’s Advocates, Inc., a battered women’s shelter in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Headwaters Intervention Center, Inc. in Park Rapids, MN to provide pro bono legal advocacy to the shelter’s clients through monthly advice only clinics and emergency cases. In addition, to providing pro bono legal advocacy, the organization provides quarterly fun, empowerment events to the Women’s Advocates clients (e.g., empowerment through dress).
The Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center, PSC is funded solely at this time through donations from individuals and businesses. In addition, at this time, all attorneys involved with the clinic are volunteers.
In 2017 we plan to: 1) expand our services to an additional domestic violence shelter in the twin cities metro area; 2) expand our clinics to provide in-court representation to shelter client’s in Order for Protections (OFPs) and eviction expungements; and 3) hire a part time executive director who will carry out the obligations of an executive director and act as staff attorney.
Our long term goal is for the Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center, PSC to own a building and have a full-time executive director and staff providing full representation to the shelter clients, and also have a mental health clinic, medical clinic, and other clinics that will help victims of domestic abuse exit violent relationships and situations safely and effectively.
Along with my practice in estate planning and elder law, I am passionate about the legal service I provide to victims and survivors of domestic violence. My nonprofit is a big part of my career as an attorney, and I hope to continue to blog about the Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center, PSC as it grows and develops. Many of my clients and colleagues are involved with the nonprofit, whether it be as a volunteer attorney or donor/supporter.
If you would like more information about this nonprofit, or would like to be involved, please feel free to contact me directly. You can also visit our website at www.domesticabuselegaladvocacycenter.org.
The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Schromen Law, LLC and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.