The New Hampshire Legal Assistance Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP) represents victims and survivors of domestic abuse in domestic violence restraining order hearings, and divorce and parenting (custody) cases. We help low income victim/survivors who cannot afford to pay a lawyer. Our attorneys are trained to address the unique issues that victim/survivors face in family law cases.
There are many ways we can help including:
- Representation at final domestic violence restraining order hearings
- Providing limited or full representation in divorce cases
- Providing limited or full representation in parenting (custody) cases
- Providing help with other legal problems such as housing or public benefits
If you need legal help from DVAP, please contact your local domestic violence crisis center for a referral.
NHLA partners with the Strafford County Family Justice Center and the Manchester Family Justice Center to provide representation to victims of domestic violence. These family justice centers are the products of successful partnerships of social service providers offering holistic services to domestic violence victims in one location. NHLA advocates also go on site to domestic violence crisis centers throughout the state to provide legal advice and assistance to victims.
This “in-house” placement increases access to holistic civil legal services for low income victims/survivors in their family law cases, thereby leading to better and safer outcomes. NHLA provides on-site legal screening and offers advice and counsel to crisis center clients experiencing domestic and sexual violence and/or stalking. NHLA is committed to increasing access to civil legal services for immigrants, refugees, and limited-English proficient victims/survivors of domestic violence, as well as the traditionally underserved LGBTQ community.
To determine your eligibility for services, we encourage you to call the New Hampshire Legal Assistance local branch office nearest you, or visit www.nhlegalaid.org.
The grant, from the Legal Assistance for Victims program of the federal Office of Violence Against Women will help NHLA provide services to victims at the Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC) and Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire (CCCNH), with specific emphasis on helping survivors who come from immigrant and refugee communities.
Holistic domestic violence advocacy in action: Help for an undocumented domestic violence victim
Kimberly came to the United States on a work trip. She became intimately involved with a United States citizen, John, who convinced her to stay, promising to marry her and help her apply for immigration status. John did marry Kimberly, but instead of helping her with the immigration process, he used her lack of status against her.
Within a month of the marriage, John began beating and sexually assaulting Kimberly. He told her it was legal for him to beat her as long as he did it within their home. The violence continued to escalate until Kimberly fled the home to stay with a friend, who brought her to a Family Justice Center.
When Kimberly came to the Family Justice Center, she had recently been strangled by John and was suffering from an untreated sexually transmitted infection resulting from the sexual abuse. She was afraid to seek any protection because John had told her she would be deported if she did.
NHLA represented Kimberly in a domestic violence case, helping her to obtain a final domestic violence protective order. NHLA also referred Kimberly to Catholic Charities for assistance with her immigration case. The Family Justice Center ensured that Kimberly’s health needs were met, connecting her to a community health center for medical treatment and mental health counseling.
Kimberly is doing much better now, and recently stopped by the Family Justice Center. She told a staff member that she believes the Family Justice Center saved her life.
NHLA receives support from the following organizations to fund our Domestic Violence Advocacy Project:
Campaign for Legal Services
IOLTA program of New Hampshire Bar Foundation
NH Department of Justice
US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women