The YWCA Court and Legal Advocacy Project employs three full-time Court and Legal Advocates, including two bilingual advocates housed fulltime in the Lawrence District Court building and one working out of YWCA Haverhill serving the Haverhill District Court. Both courts typically rank in the top 5 of MA for number of protective orders issued. Court and Legal Advocates work year-round, every day that the court is in session, assisting over 1200 domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in obtaining protective & harassment orders, and other related legal support.
Immigration services for survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence includes:
- Bilingual (Spanish/English) and culturally competent assistance with restraining orders and risk assessment;
- Providing victims with information regarding their rights;
- Assistance helping to navigate the court system, including accompaniment and support in the court room;
- Assistance and aid with immigration-related legal questions, and linkage to free or low cost legal and immigration services;
- Lethality planning, counseling, and financial assistance;
- Working to educate local police departments and court personnel about domestic violence.
We are grateful to the Massachusetts Department of Victim and Witness Safety for its support of this vital program. We are also a recipient of the MA Dept. of Public Health RISE Funding designed to provide support and victim services to immigrant women in Lawrence, a community that is almost 75% Latino.
According to Jane Doe Inc.:
Studies have found that physically and sexually abused Latina immigrants experience greater barriers to getting free from abuse than the general population of abused women. These barriers include lack of money (67% of immigrant women versus 40% of abused women from the general population), lack of employment (32% versus 20%), lack of English proficiency, and a lack of a place to live if they leave (35% versus 18%).
You may also visit with staff directly at the Lawrence District Court, 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, or at the Haverhill District Court, 45 Ginty Boulevard, Haverhill.