We must give domestic violence survivors the legal aid they need

The root causes of domestic violence are complex, and there is no single policy or program that can prevent it. But there is one critical step our state can take to improve the lives of survivors: We can ensure they have access to legal help, regardless of their ability to pay.

Op-Ed (New Hampshire)

Erin Jasina
Concord Monitor (NH)
February 10, 2019

Tags: Domestic Violence

Organizations mentioned/involved: New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA)


People are often surprised to learn that domestic violence survivors aren’t guaranteed a lawyer. “What about what they say on Law and Order, if you can’t afford an attorney . . . ?” Abusers facing criminal charges have a right to an attorney; survivors seeking protective orders, divorces or custody of their children do not, because those cases are in the jurisdiction of our civil courts.

Research shows that access to legal aid is one of the most effective ways to support survivors. A 2015 report from the Institute for Policy Integrity explains that access to legal aid can reduce domestic violence even more than access to shelters or counseling services – as much as 21 percent, according to one study.