Legal Information Promotes Safety (August 2018)
WomensLaw is the first and only free, legal resource for survivors of domestic and 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, 2018, to July 31, 2018, 268,604 people accessed the life-saving information that is housed on WomensLaw.org.
In the past three months (May 2018 through July 2018), we worked directly with 653 victims, survivors, and their friends, advocates, or family members through our Email Hotline. 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 answer every request as quickly as possible with a thoughtful response that includes individualized resources and information. We frequently correspond several times with the women and men who write in, and many express their gratitude for our assistance and support. We also hear from the advocates providing direct services to victims who use WomensLaw.org to support their clients. Some responses we have received over the Email Hotline are below:
“Once again, thank you for taking the time to respond and provide an in-depth answer as well as alternative suggestions to research and continue on in my endeavor to legally deal with and address the multiple aspects of my particularly complex case. I know in due time and continued effort on my part, I will find assistance and legal resolutions.”
(WomensLaw Email Hotline response, June 2018)
"Thank you for your informative and kind reply. It makes me feel like maybe I will find the right person who can help me settle this important issue in the right way once and for all, and even connect with others who can help each other. I do appreciate it.”
(WomensLaw Email Hotline response, July 2018)
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 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 legal information and provided resources in a way that helps them understand their options and provides them with helpful resources to allow them to figure out their next steps, even if they aren’t sure if they will move forward with the legal process. Here is one such reply that we received on the Email Hotline:
“Thank you so much for your help. I truly appreciate it. I apologize for the delay in my response. I have been unsure whether I will pursue any options, but I still might. Your suggestions will help.”
(WomensLaw Email Hotline response, May 2018)
We are constantly updating our website (http://www.WomensLaw.org) – making changes and additions daily. Our priority is to make sure that our legal information is current with changes in the laws while continuing to add new information that would be useful for victims and survivors of abuse. Between May 1, 2018, and July 31, 2018, we made hundreds of updates, such as:
- We updated the links to court forms on the Kansas Download Court Forms page.
- We added Spanish translations to three resources, Chickasaw Nation Domestic Violence Services, Native Alliance Against Violence, and The Osage Nation, in the Oklahoma Local Programs page.
- To improve the experience for our readers, we changed the way we cite the laws throughout the website. Instead of using asterisks, we now use footnotes.
- We updated the information in English and Spanish on our Male Victims page in our Abuse in Specific Communities section.
- We updated the Divorce information in Idaho, adding information on residency, grounds and alimony requirements.
- We translated into Spanish our new section on the Washington Custody page called When the parent --or someone who lives with the parent-- is abusive.
- We updated all of our information and resources for Abuse Among People Living with HIV/AIDS in English -- Spanish coming soon!
- We translated into Spanish the information added in Am I eligible for a protection order? in our New Mexico Protection Orders (for domestic violence) page to clarify that non-household members can also qualify. We also translated into Spanish the New Mexico CivilRestraining Orders (for harassment or other harm) section, which was updated in English in May 2018.
- We translated into Spanish our section in the Texas Custody page called What rights a parent can get when s/he committed domestic violence or sexual assault.
- We added a new resource in our National Organizations page called FreeFrom, where they can work with survivors to try to pair them with the appropriate resources in their state to achieve financial stability. The information is provided both in English and Spanish.
- We added the crime of voyeurism to our Arizona Crimes page in English (Spanish translation coming soon) and the related statutes to our Selected Arizona Statutes page in English.
- We created a new North Dakota Sexual Assault Restraining Orders page in the Restraining Orders section and added 3 corresponding statutes to the Selected North Dakota Statutes page.
- We added a Risk Protection Orders page in our Florida Restraining Orders section. Spanish translation coming soon!
- We updated the Divorce information in Utah, adding information on residency, grounds and alimony requirements, and added two related statutes to our Selected Utah Statutes page.
- We added the question Can I get alimony? to our Virgin Islands, U.S. Divorce page, and added one related statute to our Selected Virgin Islands, U.S. Statutes page.
- We updated our Maryland State Gun Laws section in English, adding state-specific information to existing questions and reorganizing the entire section to make the information more accessible. We also added two related statutes to the Maryland Selected Statutes section.
.…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).
Stay in the loop! Sign up for occasional action alerts and updates from NNEDV at: NNEDV.org/signup.
Quote from Email Hotline user
Your children deserve to feel safe
Can an abuser own a gun? (Spanish)
How can I help a friend who is being abused?