Legal Information Promotes Safety (August 2019)
WomensLaw is the first and only free, legal resource for survivors of domestic & dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking that offers safety and legal information and resources in "plain language" in both English and Spanish. We are dedicated to empowering survivors and their advocates to make informed decisions about their options, safety, and legal remedies.
From May 1, 2019, to July 31, 2019, 352,292 people accessed the life-saving information that is housed on WomensLaw.org.
In the past three months (May 1, 2019, to July 31, 2019), we worked directly with 1,767 victims, survivors, and their friends, advocates, or family members through our Email Hotline, which is an increase of over 1,000 emailers since last quarter. This unique hotline offers victims a direct line to ask a question of our attorneys and volunteers, who specialize in domestic violence and the law. We respond to every request as quickly as possible, but take time to respond thoughtfully and include individualized resources and information. We frequently correspond back and forth with the women and men who write in, and many are grateful for our assistance and support. We also hear from the friends and family members supporting loved ones who are experiencing abuse. Some responses we have received over the Email Hotline are below:
“Thank you so much for the information. This has given me a great head start. This situation just recently came to my attention and I am trying to [w]rap my head around the laws to help my sister choose the best path moving forward.” (WomensLaw Email Hotline, May 2019)
“Thank you so, so, so very much for your help !!!!! It is priceless!!! The time & energy & effort you have given to help [us] is just so very much appreciated. You have answered all my questions with compassion, understanding, intelligence & diligence. I cannot thank you enough !!!!!” (WomensLaw Email Hotline, July 2019)
We answer questions and provide our expertise on a wide range of topics - including custody, divorce, relocation, and more. Often, victims or their loved ones are writing in to us to get some basic legal information about their situation when they cannot find legal representation. Although we do not provide legal advice, we can explain relevant laws that may help the victim to make an informed decision.
It is especially rewarding when someone tells us that we explained the information and provided resources in a way that helps them understand their options and think through what to do next. Here is one such reply that we received on the Email Hotline:
“Thank you. The links you provided with the downloadable court forms are super helpful. I will file in NYC, and thankfully I have all of his emails and calls saved because, well, technology. I haven't deleted anything. Thanks again.” (WomensLaw Email Hotline response, July 2019)
We are constantly updating our website (http://www.WomensLaw.org) – making changes and additions to it daily. Our priority is to make sure that the legal information that we have is current with changes in the laws and to continue to add new information that would be useful for victims and survivors of abuse. Between May 1, 2019 and July 31, 2019, we made hundreds of updates, such as:
- We revised the question Can I get alimony? in our Ohio Divorce page to clarify that spousal support can be issued on a temporary basis while a divorce is pending.
- We completely re-wrote our Abuse in Tribal Communities page in English. Spanish coming soon! We also added two related statutes to our Selected Federal Statutes page.
- After realizing that our Safety in Court and Safety with an Abuser pages were inadvertently blank, we added content to both pages in English and Spanish. We also updated links on our Safety in a Confidential Address page in English and Spanish,
- Where we previously had a brief description of the law, we now created a new Georgia Housing Laws page to further explain a victim’s right to terminate a lease due to domestic violence.. Changes made in English; Spanish soon to come.
- On our Maryland Crimes page, we added the crimes of visual surveillance, camera surveillance, and sextortion in English and Spanish. We also added the related statutes to our Selected Maryland Statutes page in English.
- Based on an Email Hotline inquiry, we added a statute to our Selected Georgia Statutes page regarding investigations of and arrests in incidents of family violence.
- In our Maryland Peace Orders section, we updated the question in English and Spanish called What acts of abuse would qualify me for a peace order? to add an additional six crimes that could qualify someone for an order. This change because effective in 2016. We very much regret the error in not updating our website sooner.
- We updated the contact info and description of services for North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence on our Advocates and Shelters page in English and Spanish. We also added it to our Finding a Lawyer page since they now offer direct representation.
- On our New Hampshire Finding a Lawyer page, we updated the contact information and descriptions of services for three resources related to programs offered by the New Hampshire Bar Association.
- We added Centro Multicultural La Familia to our Michigan Local Programs page in English and Spanish.
- We updated the information in two questions on our Maryland State Gun Laws page based on changes to the law that added a conviction for firearms-related crimes as a reason to not prohibited from possess a firearm. All changes made in English and Spanish.
- We just published our Preparing for Court video blog series! This series is narrated in Spanish with English subtitles. They include information on things to consider and do before filing a court case, where and how to start your court case, what happens after you file, what to expect at a hearing or trial and how to prepare for it, and court-based examples illustrated by actors on how to make objections, admit evidence, and conduct direct and cross-examination.
- Based on an Email Hotline inquiry, we added a law regarding paternity to our Selected Pennsylvania Statutes page.
- We added 18 new courthouses and revised the contact information for 58 courthouses on our Massachusetts Courthouse Locations page in English and Spanish.
- In our Ohio Custody page, we updated the links to the Ohio Bar Association in the question Where can I find more information about custody in Ohio?
- We created a new page on Reproductive Abuse and Coercion in English in Forms of Abuse. Spanish coming soon!
- We added an Oregon Extreme Risk Protective Orders page in English and 6 corresponding statutes to the Selected Oregon Statutes page. Spanish translation coming soon!
.…and these are just a handful of the changes and improvements that we made over the past three months! See them all here on our What’s New page: https://www.womenslaw.org/about/news
Thank you for supporting WomensLaw and the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).
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