WomensLaw.org - Knowledge is Power
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 February 1, 2018, to April 30, 2018, 207,395 people accessed the life-saving information that is housed on WomensLaw.org.
In the past three months (February 2018 through April 2018), we worked directly with 728 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 to 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:
“Thank you so much for your response. I am checking out everything you sent me. I hope it will be the help we are so desperately needing.”
(WomensLaw Email Hotline response, February 2018)
“Hi there – I just wanted to thank you for all of your help. I contacted [a justice center]and will be meeting with an advocate next week who knows the ins and outs of the law and who will be with me throughout the entire process and court hearing. Without your help I would still be lost, not knowing who to turn to for help. The service you provided to me is invaluable and I am so very grateful. Once again, thank you!”
(WomensLaw Email Hotline response, April 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 think through what to do next. Here is one such reply that we received on the Email Hotline:
“Thank you so much for the information you provided! It was very helpful and gave me a much better insight to the [legal] process.”
(WomensLaw Email Hotline response, April 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 February 1, 2018, and April 30, 2018, we made hundreds of updates, such as:
- Based on a change in Nevada law that no longer allows a person who is living with the abuser but not a family member or intimate partner to qualify for an order, we updated the information in Who is eligible for an order for protection against domestic violence?
- We re-wrote the information in Am I eligible for a protection order? related to New Mexico to clarify that non-household members can also qualify. Changes made in English – Spanish coming soon!
- We updated the Spanish translations for resources on the Pennsylvania Legal Assistance page.
- For Colorado, we added information in English and Spanish about filing for contempt to the question What can I do if the abuser violates the protection order? We also added a link to the “verified motion for contempt citation” court form.
- We translated into Spanish our Recording page in our Abuse Using Technology section.
- We completely revised the North Dakota Download Court Forms page, adding all-new links.
- Based on changes to North Dakota law, we added information to the question How can a domestic violence protection order help me? about where abusers are supposed to surrender their firearms and the penalties for failing to do so.
- We added a Documenting/Saving Evidence page in our Abuse Using Technology section in English. Spanish soon to come!
- We added a new section in English to our Washington Custody page called When the parent – or someone who lives with the parent – is abusive. In that section we took complex information that was previously in one question and re-wrote it, breaking it up into five questions, to make it more understandable. Spanish soon to come! We also added a related statute to our Selected Washington Statutes page.
- We added a Nebraska Sexual Assault Protection Order page and three corresponding statutes to the State Statutes page.
- Based on an Email Hotline inquiry, we added a new crime to our West Virginia Crimes page and the related statute to our Selected West Virginia Statutes page.
- We completely reorganized and revised the South Carolina State Gun Laws page, adding a lot of new information to the existing questions and a new question, If the abuser is prohibited from having a firearm or ammunition, how long does the prohibition last? We also added four related statutes to our Selected South Carolina Statutes page.
- We added eight new crimes related to assault, domestic violence, and criminal sexual conduct to our South Carolina Crimes page and the eight related statutes to our Selected South Carolina Statutes page.
- Based on a change to Rhode Island law, we added information to the questions How can a restraining order help me? and If the abuser's gun is taken away as part of my restraining order, what will happen to it? about the surrender of firearms and the right to request a hearing to seek that firearms be returned.
- On our Oklahoma Crimes page, we added a section in Spanish about the crime of identity theft. (English had been previously added.)
- On our Oklahoma Domestic Violence Protective Orders page, we added information about how an ex parte order of protection can help victims in the question How can a protective order help me? We also added information to that question (based on an addition to Oklahoma law) about the judge being able to transfer a wireless account to a victim. All changes made in English – Spanish soon to come!
.…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.
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