Safe Horizon, Inc. This Provider At a Glance

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1 Safe Horizon, Inc. Snapshot of Accomplishments, During the period between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, the Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project (DVLP) and the Immigration Law Project (ILP) provided highquality comprehensive legal information and representation to approximately 1,900 indigent victims of domestic violence in New York City. They also provided legal representation to over 900 of those victims in family court cases and individual justice proceedings, VAWA petitions, adjustment proceedings, U visas, naturalization, work authorization, and deportation and removal proceedings. Additionally, DVLP provided 145 of those victims with court related advocacy. DVLP provided legal education to approximately 300 individuals that included attorneys, law students and victim advocates. The IOLA funding allowed DVLP and ILP to support its Shelter Law Initiative (SLI) which provided legal services and technical assistance to victims in the Safe Horizon domestic violence shelters. The SLI provided assistance to 95 clients in 103 cases. The cases ranged from advocacy in public benefits matters to referrals through direct intake and legal representation. Additionally, we provided referrals and legal assistance to approximately 766 clients through our Legal Helpline. Safe Horizon DVLP staff is able to assist English/Spanish speaking clients with issues relating to domestic violence, whether they have recently separated from their abuser or are seeking out ways to escape the violence. Our Helpline operates Monday through Friday, 9:30AM -5:30PM and is designed to empower victims of domestic violence by providing them with referrals, safety planning and important legal information. Bronx Manhattan Staten Island Que ens Brooklyn This Provider At a Glance Population Served: General Low Income Population Area Served: New York City Metropolitan Area Total Funding: $950,001 Total IOLA Grant(s): $137,917 Staffing - IOLA-Funded Full Time Equivalents Total Staff: 3.85 Lawyers: 2.85 Other Staff: 1.00 Types of Services Provided Direct Civil Legal Representation Brief Services * Extended Services * Hotlines and Other Phone-Based Services * Community Legal Education * Pro Se Assistance * Support for Other Service Providers * Major Cases or Other Advocacy Projects ) The IOLA Grant(s) Domestic Violence Law Project $137,917 See page 3 Safe Horizon, Inc. - 1

2 Outcomes 1,934 Individuals Benefited from Direct Civil Legal Representation Extended Representation Outcomes 40 people obtained or maintained custody of children 30 people obtained protection from domestic violence 10 people obtained preserved or increased child support 3 people obtained assigned divorce counsel 7 people obtained benefits from other "extended representation" Examples... Outcomes for Clients U was referred to our office from the Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Shelter. VU is indigent V and undocumented, with two young children and speaks no English. The father of the youngest child was abusive to VU for many years. She came to live with him after a brief period of dating. She did not have anywhere else to live and he offered her his home. From that time on, he hit her, slammed her hand in a door, threw things at her and called her names. VU had no family in the United States and did not know what to do. When the abuse became severe, she fled from her home with her two children to a Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Shelter. Once our office received this referral, the attorney on the case helped VU file for an order of protection and custody of her youngest child. While VU was able to obtain a final order of protection after a few months, the custody case continued for over two years. The father made many false allegations against the mother and did not consent to her gaining custody. VU did not want to have to testify about the abuse as it was still traumatic for her but knew she would if she had to, to protect her child. On the eve of the trial, after four hours of negotiations, the parties were able to reach a settlement in which VU was granted sole custody of the daughter. The client was satisfied and did not have to go through a lengthy trial. he DVLP attorney represented PM, a low income client, in the Brooklyn Integrated Domestic T Violence Court (IDVC) after she had received PM's case while conducting intake. The DVLP attorney had negotiated a settlement in the case and PM was granted a two-year full order of protection. Months later, PM contacted the DVLP attorney because the children's father, JM, had violated the order of protection. JM had repeatedly called PM, telling PM that he was going to kill her. PM had made a police report, but as PM was in New Jersey at that time and her order of protection and JM were in New York, the New Jersey police did not arrest him. PM made a police report when she Breakdown By Legal Problem Area Brief Representation Benefits 368 people benefited from legal advice and counsel 1,476 people benefited from non-litigation advocacy services Dollar Benefits Achieved for Clients - Total $286,272 Family Law - Child Support: $286,272 Total includes back awards and 3 year total of monthly benefits, estimated over 36 months for child support. Examples continued on last page Total Family Individual Rights Other 1,934 People 1,559 People 324 People 51 People Family 80% Individual Rights 17% Other 3% Safe Horizon, Inc. - 2

3 Other Services Hotlines and Other Telephone Based Legal Services Safe Horizon operates New York City's 24- hour Emergency Domestic Violence Hotline, a telephone service that provides crisis counseling, safety planning, shelter assistance and referrals to Safe Horizon programs including DVLP. DVLP, in turn, operates a Legal Helpline that provides legal information, referrals, and assistance to victims and advocates throughout New York City and New York State. The Helpline also provides technical assistance to victims regarding public entitlements and housing issues. It operates Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and handles calls in both English and Spanish. In addition to providing legal information and referrals, the Helpline helps connect income eligible victims who are seeking legal representation with DVLP attorneys. The DVLP Law Project Coordinator (LPC) and volunteer law students screen, assess and conduct detailed phone interviews. After all the information is gathered, the DVLP staff attorneys review the case and determine whether the caller is eligible for legal representation. The purpose of the DVLP Helpline is to empower callers seeking legal representation, information, and assistance. For callers who are unable to be represented by a DVLP staff attorney or who do not want to separate from the abuser, the DVLP staff makes sure to answer any legal questions they have, provide a safety plan, and provide referrals to appropriate services, including other Safe Horizon services. ILP also maintains a legal intake line that assesses the eligibility of potential clients seeking legal representation in immigration matters. A similar telephone intake system is used by the Shelter Law Initiative, which aims to identify clients at the earliest point possible upon their entry into the Safe Horizon shelter system. SLI staff has trained shelter advocates to use a screening and assessment form to be completed upon each resident's entry into the shelter. The IOLA Project Grants Domestic Violence Law Project IOLA Funding Amount: $137,917 The IOLA grant was awarded to support legal services for survivors of domestic violence residing in Safe Horizon's domestic violence shelters in New York City also known as the Shelter Law Initiative (SLI). SLI works to address the legal needs of domestic violence survivors living in Safe Horizon domestic violence shelters. Most of these clients are unemployed or low-income and have a overwhelming set of problems regarding legal issues. Other clients need assistance with applying for Public Assistance and public housing. Due to the difficulty of navigating the New York City benefits systems, many clients have advocacy needs. Upon finding out that being undocumented renders them ineligible for public benefits, many clients seek immigration legal services. All these reasons and many others have led to the development of the concept "Shelter Law" to address the wide array of legal needs our shelter clients have. In addition, our Shelter Law Attorney trains all Safe Horizon shelter staff on an overview of family law and provide basic information on filing and eligibility. Also, staff is trained on issue spotting when clients should be referred to an attorney and what resources should be made available to them. Our SLI attorney conducts intake appointments at each of Safe horizon's nine shelters once a month to provide legal assistance, advocacy, and technical support to residents throughout NYC. Number of People Benefited by Legal Services Other Than Direct Legal Representation Total: 7,406 People Community Legal Education: 6,600 People Pro Se Assistance: 40 People Legal Hotline Services: 766 People Safe Horizon, Inc. - 3

4 Other Services, continued advocate then faxes the form to SLI and the resident will receive a phone call from Safe Horizon legal staff within 48 hours. Legal Services Other Than Direct Legal Representation Safe Horizon has adopted an innovative, client-centered, integrated service model across all our programs that focus on first meeting clients' immediate needs (e.g., crisis intervention, safety planning and shelter) and then addressing their needs for longer-term support (counseling, support groups, case management, advocacy, information and referrals and legal representation). The objective of this integration is to provide clients with a holistic and efficient continuum of care that allows them to access different services as their needs change over time. For domestic violence victims, service plans may include strategies for staying safe in their home, obtaining orders of protection, or applying for an emergency housing transfer. The DVLP staff will reassess safety at every contact with the client and revise the plan as the situation evolves. DVLP will also assess victims for needs related to their immigration status, such as eligibility to self-petition or apply for a U-Visa. We inform survivors of their rights within New York City, including the right to receive services as a victim of a crime without fear of deportation, and then link them to ILP. Advocacy is a large part of the provision of legal services. DVLP staff assists victims in securing rights, remedies, and services from other agencies. DVLP staff provides information and advocacy within the context of the criminal justice system and connects intimidated victims to domestic violence shelters and provides Sources of Funding Total $ 950,001 IOLA Grants $ 137,917 City and County $ 344,425 Federal Funding $ 335,916 State Funding $ 131,743 Safe Horizon, Inc. - 4 relocation assistance for safety reasons. The Law Project Coordinator (LPC), via our Legal Helpline, also provides technical assistance, focusing in helping clients reach autonomy. Specifically, most of the client's needs involve safe housing, income sustainability, and advocacy in regards to public entitlements and housing. As many of these systems are complicated for both our English and non-english speaking clients, the LPC provides assistance in helping these clients navigate the process. Housing and public benefits are two of the most prominent non-legal issues the LPC handles. The LPC assists the client and advocates on the client's behalf with New York City Housing Section 8 and Public Housing on issues such as emergency transfers, applications, and apartment searches. As for public benefits, many of our clients receive a denial, sanctions or reduction or termination of their benefits. The LPC provides advocacy by calling job centers, providing referrals and information on navigating the system or representing clients in Fair Hearings. DVLP also places priority on education, training, and technical assistance. Our attorneys provide extensive community outreach and seek to collaborate with numerous agencies and programs by providing legal education on family/matrimonial law issues to Safe Horizon domestic violence shelters, Family and Criminal Court staff, as well as other domestic violence and social services providers, the Family Justice Centers in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and other community-based organizations. Trainings conducted by the DVLP and ILP staff cover a wide range of topics, including family offense/protection orders, custody, visitation, child and spousal support, immigration remedies for victims, criminal justice responses to domestic violence and divorce Federal Funding 35% State Funding 14% IOLA Grants 15% City and County 36%

5 Other Services, continued proceedings. These training seminars are designed to present crucial information to clients and educate victim advocates on effective advocacy techniques. Training seminars conducted in shelters are followed by legal consultations to clients in order for them to receive individualized legal assessments. With Safe Horizon's holistic service approach of reaching clients in need, we hope to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the delivery of civil legal services. Support for Other Service Providers DVLP staff and attorneys provide citywide legal training, education and technical assistance to pro bono attorneys, other legal services attorneys, advocates and court personnel. DVLP conducts internal trainings for Safe Horizon, the Queens and Brooklyn Family Justice Center staff, and various other social service agencies. The Shelter Law Initiative provides daily technical assistance to shelter clients and shelter services staff on family, immigration, housing, and public assistance issues. Pro Bono Private Attorney Involvement The DVLP Volunteer Program mainly consists of volunteer law student interns. During the fall and spring semesters of law school, DVLP has three to four interns who average ten to twelve hours per week. During the summer, four to five law student interns volunteer full time for ten weeks at DVLP as well as one undergraduate intern who averages twenty-five hours per week. At the beginning of the internship program, interns are provided with a DVLP training manual created by DVLP staff. The manual includes office policies, how to operate the Legal Helpline, and detailed information on family law matters. The internship begins with a three day intensive training provided by different legal service organizations in the city covering relevant areas, including family law, criminal law, immigration law, domestic violence, housing, and other related topics. Also, in order to help interns understand other issues that affect client lives, DVLP provides ongoing training with a weekly brownbag lunch discussion which addresses other relevant areas. Examples of brownbag lunches include presentations in Mediation, Government Affairs, issues addressing violence in the LGBT Community, Consumer Debt/Credit, trafficking, the New York District Attorney's Office Sex Crimes Unit, and a mental health counselor discussing mental health issues that could derive from domestic violence. One of those brownbag lunch discussions is allocated to a session on career development, including what an ideal resume and cover letter would look like. Each attorney will supervise one or two interns and will also serve as a mentor, who then meets with their intern on a regular basis to review their progress and address any issues that may arise. Furthermore, the interns are closely monitored during the course of the internship and two formal evaluations are conducted at the midpoint and final point of the internship program. The DVLP attorneys are required to complete an evaluation form with respect to the interns performance so that the attorney who primarily supervises the intern can give an appropriate evaluation for the intern's work to their corresponding law school professor. All interns work on a variety of assignments including conducting intake interviews with prospective clients, drafting petitions, motions, and other court related documents, researching pertinent legal issues and conducting extensive legal writing. Interns also assist attorneys in preparation for trial and correspond with thirdparty agencies on behalf of the client. Occasionally, interns operate the Helpline and provide technical assistance to numerous clients. Finally, interns accompany DVLP attorneys to court appearances to observe proceedings and advocate for clients under the student practice order. By the end of the program, interns learn to manage their own caseload, prepare for trial, interview clients, draft court documents and improve their writing and practical lawyering skills. Interns also become familiar with numerous resources and remedies available in the city for domestic violence survivors. Interns learn to assist experienced attorneys in representing domestic violence survivors in court, and help domestic violence survivors empower themselves and live free from abuse. Safe Horizon, Inc. - 5

6 Outcomes for Clients continued from page 2 returned to New York, but the New York police informed her that because the incident had occurred when she was in New Jersey, they had no jurisdiction. The DVLP attorney worked closely with the Brooklyn Family Justice Center to advocate with the District Attorney's office and the New York police to enforce PM's order. As a result of the advocacy, PM was allowed to make a police report in New York and JM was arrested. PM also decided she wanted to file for custody and the DVLP attorney drafted her petition and represented her on this matter. The DVLP attorney also filed a violation petition for the violation of the order of protection. The case was referred back to the Brooklyn IDVC. After settlement discussions, PM was granted custody of her three children. JM was granted visitation every other weekend. JM's order of protection was also changed to prohibit telephone contact between the parties. Safe Horizon, Inc. - 6

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