If we are serious about ending the scourge of domestic violence in this country, as we should be, we must use every tool at our disposal. And the numbers speak for themselves: it’s hard to find a more effective tool than civil legal aid.
Lonnie A. Powers
WGBH News (MA)
October 8, 2015
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Tags: Domestic Violence
Organizations mentioned/involved: Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC)
Research shows that the availability of legal aid for survivors significantly lowers rates of domestic violence and reduces spending on state-funded support services related to intimate partner violence. As we see more partnerships among public and private sector leaders to end intimate partner violence ― such as the recent initiative backed by Attorney General Maura Healey and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft ― we need to include access to civil legal aid in the discussion.
In a study of these data published in Contemporary Economic Policy in 2003, the researchers concluded that access to protective orders from courts; legal assistance with child custody and support; divorce and property distribution; and domestic violence-related legal disputes around immigration, housing, and public benefits help survivors over the long-term, because these services provide them with “real, long-term alternatives to their relationships.”