Domestic violence victims frequently encounter many challenges maintaining separation from their abuser. Sharing children makes it even more difficult to maintain separation; from wanting the abuser to see the children, to an inability to financially support themselves without help from the abuser.
Orders of protection provide the child-related support many victims need to maintain separation from their abuser – possession of their children, a concrete visitation schedule, and child support – without which they are more likely to be abused again. Until recently in the Cook County Court system, however, for orders of protection issued in criminal cases, including domestic violence cases, there was no one helping victims request this more comprehensive relief.
Fundamentally, people need this relief to stay safe and separated from their abuser.
- Melanie MacBride
Supervising Attorney for the Domestic Violence Team
Under a newly created project, the Legal Aid Society’s Safe Families Program – a partnership with the State’s Attorney’s Office – bridges the gap between criminal and civil courts, working to obtain more comprehensive orders of protection for victims of domestic violence to provide the structure and financial support that they need to successfully move on with their lives.
LAS CLIENT STORY
Safe Families Client
Never before had a civil attorney filed an appearance in a criminal matter in the way that we were doing, but we were determined to get Talia the relief she deserved.
Read about Talia's Story
THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING INITIATIVE
The Human Trafficking Initiative provides free legal services to human trafficking survivors on legal issues that result from their exploitation. In addition, clients are connected to case management and counseling services either in-house at Metropolitan or through a referral to a federally funded program specific to survivors of human trafficking. In response to growing demand for services in the city and suburbs, the program is expanding its services, adding staff to the downtown office and in Metropolitan DuPage.