LEGAL ADVOCACY SERVICES
Many survivors of domestic violence find themselves involved in court to address various legal issues. The legal system can be scary and confusing; DOVE’s Legal Advocacy Program may be able to help.
DOVE’s legal staff are specifically educated on domestic violence and applicable laws. We provide trauma-informed, client-centered services and guide survivors through the legal system while keeping in mind safety concerns. Our team can provide legal advice and representation to survivors of domestic violence with cases in Norfolk County, and may be able to offer legal advice and referrals to survivors who have legal cases outside of our catchment area.
All of our services are free and confidential.
The legal team will provide services in the survivor’s primary language. We are able to assist clients of all languages through the use of phone and in-person interpreters.
We offer assistance in the following areas:
(also called 209A Abuse Prevention Orders):
Representation at restraining order hearings for survivors of domestic violence who are seeking a restraining order against an abuser or who need to defend against a restraining order; consultation about the strength of the case and any potential risks to filing in court; assistance reading or drafting court documents.
Assistance with family law matters including divorce, custody, paternity, parenting time, and child support; consultation about the case and the pros, cons, and risks to filing in court; assistance reading or drafting court documents; negotiation with the opposing party in the case; preparation for court hearings or limited assistance representation by one of our staff attorneys.
Representation in summary process (eviction) cases in District Court and Metro South Housing court; representation at housing authority hearings including appeals of denials of domestic violence priorities on subsidized housing waitlists; negotiation with landlords and housing authorities regarding domestic violence-related housing issues such as names on leases/lease bifurcations, income calculations, getting locks changed, and porting vouchers; assistance with reasonable accommodations and security deposits.
Assistance accessing and maintaining SNAP (food stamps), TAFDC (cash assistance), and EAEDC (state disability and caretaker benefits) benefits; representation at DTA hearings and appeals involving overpayments, fraud, and benefits termination issues related to domestic violence.
Representation in affirmative applications for immigration relief for survivors of domestic violence, including U visas, which offer relief to undocumented individuals who are the victims of certain serious crimes; relief under the Violence Against Women Act; assistance removing the conditions on lawful permanent status; asylum, and other forms of relief.
Legal advice and assistance for survivors whose abusive partners are facing criminal charges as a result of the abuse, including help understanding the criminal legal process and the survivor’s role in it as a victim witness; information about what to expect when called to testify against an abusive partner or former partner; help drafting victim impact statements; assistance communicating with the District Attorney’s office or victim witness advocate, and help advocating for protections in the Victim’s Bill of Rights.