New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

New Hampshire Legal Assistance receives $600,000 3-year grant to provide civil legal aid to domestic violence survivors

Posted Sep 06, 2022

The United States Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women recently awarded $600,000 to New Hampshire Legal Assistance to fund legal advice and representation for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

The grant is one of 59 competitive awards, totaling more than $35 million, under the Legal Assistance for Victims Program. This federal program seeks to help meet the legal needs of survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

The award includes a substantial subgrant to WISE, a domestic violence crisis center in the Upper Valley, which will be NHLA’s partner on the project. The project is focused on supporting survivors with obstacles to achieving fair outcomes in domestic violence and family law cases - specifically people with a history of mental illness and/or substance use disorder. NHLA developed this project based on input from the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and its regional member programs, including WISE, about the most significant challenges facing survivors in New Hampshire.

“Civil legal aid provides survivors with unique services that play a critical role in helping them to rebuild their lives after violence, such as securing protection orders, parenting plans, and child support,” said Sarah Mattson Dustin, NHLA Executive Director. “We are eager to deepen our collaboration with WISE through this interdisciplinary project.”

“Civil legal aid is a much-needed service for survivors, particularly those with a history of mental illness or substance use disorder,” said Peggy O’Neil, WISE Executive Director. “Through this project, WISE and NHLA will be able to partner to provide holistic services to a particularly vulnerable community.”

About NHLA and the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project:

New Hampshire Legal Assistance is a statewide nonprofit law firm, providing civil legal aid for more than 50 years. Since 1999, NHLA’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP) has provided holistic legal services to survivors of domestic violence. DVAP attorneys are trained to represent victims and survivors of intimate partner violence in a variety of civil legal matters including divorce, parenting rights and responsibilities, child support, and protective order cases. Since its inception, the DVAP has served thousands of survivors.

About WISE

Since 1971, WISE has provided crisis advocacy and support for people and communities impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking within 23 communities of the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. WISE offers a confidential and free 24-hour crisis line, support groups and workshops, emergency and transitional shelter, safety planning and in-person advocacy at hospitals, police stations, courthouses and other social service agencies. WISE provides essential immigration legal services and works with youth, professionals, and the community to develop culturally relevant community education and comprehensive prevention strategies. WISE is committed to engaging everyone in learning to recognize and eliminate the root causes of violence.