Legal Services to Victims Project
In 2013 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), there were 1,427 incidents of domestic violence in Collier County. Studies show 23.6% of women and 11.5% of men reported at least one episode of intimate-partner violence in their lifetime. Moreover, research has shown that one of the key components in reducing domestic violence is ensuring that victims have access to civil legal services. Yet, studies show that the collective civil legal aid effort is meeting only about 20% of the legal needs of low-income people.
The Legal Services to Victims (“LSTV”) Project provides safety and stability to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, repeat violence, elder and other abuse. The LSTV project provides free legal services to these individuals, primarily by obtaining injunctions for protection for the victims. Our attorneys also represent clients in custody and divorce matters, seeking to achieve just outcomes that improve the lives of families and children in poverty. A further objective of the LSTV Project is to promote the prevention of domestic abuse through community education and seminars, to alert the at-risk population as to their rights, best practices to secure their safety, and the resources available in the community to safeguard them.
Clients of the LSTV Project are often referred to Legal Aid by the Shelter for Abused Women and Children. Upon receiving a referral from the Shelter, LSTV attorneys can provide a variety of services to ensure the safety of the client and his/her family.
- Injunctions for Protection against domestic violence, stalking violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and repeat violence
- Advice and counsel to victims
- Dissolution of marriage (divorce)
- Child custody and visitation
- Child and spousal support
- Property distribution
- Domestic violence related immigration, housing, and public benefits issues
The Legal Services to Victims project is funded through a Community Block Development Grant furnished by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Collier County Community and Human Services Division.