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 August 1, 2020, to October 31, 2020, 774,167 people accessed the life-saving information that is housed on WomensLaw.org.
In the past three months (August 2020 through October 2020), we worked directly with 1,140 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:
“I was almost brought to tears knowing that someone sat down and really read my words and understood my situation. The response was very clear, thoughtful and thorough.” (WomensLaw Email Hotline response, August 2020)
“You have done more than you will ever know. I sincerely mean this. I truly thank you for all the support and information you have given me. I am sure you are swamped on your end as well. (My apologies, but I am spreading the word about you guys!)” (WomensLaw Email Hotline response, October 2020)
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 writes in and we are able to make them feel heard and understood. Here is one such reply that we received on the Email Hotline:
“I believe that the answers were very informative and I felt my question was heard and was carefully answered. The amount of detail given was great it pointed me in the right direction with more than one option.” (September 2020)
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 August 1, 2020, and October 31, 2020, we made hundreds of updates, such as:
- We added new information to our Minnesota Housing Laws page. It includes 7 questions about the law that allows victims of domestic abuse, criminal sexual conduct, and harassment to end a lease early without penalty.
- Based on a 2020 addition to Arizona law, we added information to What protections can I get in an order of protection? about the victim’s duty to notify the court if s/he moves out of the home after the abuser is excluded. Changes made in English and Spanish.
- On our Indiana Crimes page, we updated the link to the Victim Compensation Division.
- Based on a 2020 addition to the law, we updated How are firearms removed from a dangerous individual under this law? For how long are they removed? in our Indiana Firearms Seizure and Retention Law section.
- We added a statute related to drug testing in custody cases to our Selected Indiana Statutes page.
- We added the question When can a judge order that a parent be drug tested? to our Indiana Custody page.
- We translated into Spanish our Indiana Court Forms page.
- On our U.S. Virgin Islands Places that Help page, we added 3 new resources as follows: 1 Legal Assistance and 2 Courthouse Locations. All additions were made in English and, for the first time, all resources were translated into Spanish!
- On our U.S. Virgin Islands Places that Help page, we updated 5 resources as follows: 3 Local Programs, 1 Legal Assistance, and 1 Lawyer Referral Services. All updates were made in English and, for the first time, all resources were translated into Spanish!
- We translated into Spanish the questions When can a grandparent or great-grandparent petition for visitation? and What does a grandparent or great-grandparent have to prove to get visitation? in our Arkansas Custody page.
- We added a new Virtual Hearings page to our Frequently Asked Questions Involving Courts and COVID-19 section in English and Spanish.
- Based on an Email Hotline inquiry, we added a statute on automatic restraining orders in divorce cases to our Selected Tennessee Statutes page.
- We added a question called Can my pet be included in a military protective order (MPO)? in our section about Domestic Violence in the Military. The new question is in English, but Spanish is coming soon!
- We added 4 new questions in English about nonconsensual image sharing to our Abuse Using Technology page. Spanish coming soon!
- We re-organized and revised our West Virginia State Gun Laws section to make it easier to read. In addition to adding a new sub-section called The Abuser is Not Supposed to Have a Gun…Now What?, we also removed the majority of the federal gun laws information so that the section focuses on West Virginia state laws.
.…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.