Christine’s Escape

Christine's escape from abuse
Our volunteer lawyers helped Christine and her children escape serious abuse. 

This year the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project celebrated a decade of service to our community with our dedicated attorneys providing free legal services to over 1,000 domestic violence survivors and at-risk children. We also partnered with some of the city’s best social service and medical organizations to open two walk-in Family Legal Clinics, one with Community of Hope and Martha’s Table , and the other at Children’s National Medical Center.  Read about how our attorneys helped Christine and her children escape abuse below and please donate today so we can continue our life-changing work. Thank you!

Joseph tightly controlled Christine’s every movement. He tracked her location by phone, checked her social media postings daily, and scrolled through her phone each night. When Christine changed her phone password, he became enraged and punched her in the face, breaking her glasses. 

When Christine changed her phone password, he became enraged and punched her in the face, breaking her glasses. After she fled to bathroom, he grabbed a knife and threatened to cut her in front of their two young children. He then choked her until she passed out.

Christine felt powerless. She had no where to go with a toddler and a baby and did not know how to make Joseph leave since only his name was on the lease. After more than a year of escalating violence, Christine decided she needed to protect her children despite her fears of becoming homeless and came to our Domestic Violence Resource Clinic for help. After hearing her story, we took her case and assigned an experienced pair of volunteer attorneys to represent her in court. Christine’s case was difficult as Joseph had also filed a protection order against her falsely claiming she was the violent one. With DCVLP attorneys by her side, a trembling Christine was able to testify about his abuse.

The judge agreed with Christine and granted her a protection order along with full custody of the children. He completely denied Joseph’s request.

During the case, DCVLP’s Client Advocate guided Christine through the the housing process where she eventually obtained a housing voucher in her own name. She also connected the toddler to a counselor specializing in young children affected by trauma. Today, Christine and her two boys are living in their own apartment and thriving.