This is blog post is part of our week-long event leading up to our Working Together To Make Home A Safe Place, a virtual event on Facebook Live on April 30th, featuring honorees, Pfizer and King & Spalding LLP and a message from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Domestic violence victims and at-risk children are facing new challenges during this crisis — increased financial stress, social distancing from support networks, quarantine with an abuser, and restless children stuck inside.

We are here to help. The virtual doors of DC Volunteer Lawyers Project are open! Our lawyers and advocates are continuing to provide life-changing legal assistance to domestic violence victims like Tania. Read on to see how we helped Tania escape her abuser.

Tania’s Story: A Time To Leave

Tania knew it was time to leave. After several days of sheltering-in-place, her boyfriend became angry with her and backed her into a corner. He pushed her down on the bed, pinned down her arms, hit her in the face repeatedly, and smothered her with a pillow until she could not breathe.

Fortunately, Tania was referred to us and within 24 hours, a DCVLP attorney had helped her file a protection order petition through the new online system, represented her in a hearing by telephone, and helped her obtain an order allowing her to go back to the apartment with a police escort to retrieve her belongings. The DCVLP attorney also advised the client about her rights to break her lease, assisted her with assembling the necessary paperwork, and contacted the leasing office to provide written notice that the client was breaking the lease. DCVLP was able to place the case with a pro bono attorney for full representation, ensuring that Tania, who is now living with family members, will have access to advocacy throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.