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What do I need to know about seeking legal assistance as a domestic violence victim?

Obtaining legal help as a domestic violence victim can help protect your rights. Your attorney represents your interests and is your advocate in a court of law. They can provide you the options you need to consider and all possible outcomes.

Don’t be afraid to interview potential lawyers to make sure they understand your case. If you can’t afford a lawyer, there are many free resources available. Even with some lawyers who normally charge, you may be eligible for free or reduced legal help.

Here are some organizations and resources in the United States that provide legal services and support for domestic violence survivors:

  1. National Domestic Violence Hotline: The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers confidential support, information, and referrals to local resources, including legal services, for survivors of domestic violence. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website at
  2. Legal Aid Organizations: Many legal aid organizations across the United States provide free or low-cost legal services to survivors of domestic violence. These organizations may offer assistance with obtaining protective orders, navigating family law matters, and accessing other legal resources. You can search for legal aid organizations in your area through websites such as or the American Bar Association's Find Legal Help directory.
  3. Domestic Violence Shelters and Advocacy Organizations: Domestic violence shelters and advocacy organizations often have staff or volunteers who can provide legal advocacy and support to survivors. They may offer services such as safety planning, court accompaniment, assistance with filing protection orders, and referrals to legal services.
  4. Family Justice Centers: Family Justice Centers are multi-agency service centers that provide comprehensive support to survivors of domestic violence, including legal assistance, counseling, advocacy, and other resources. Many Family Justice Centers have on-site legal clinics staffed by attorneys who can provide free legal services to survivors.
  5. State and Local Bar Associations: State and local bar associations may have programs or initiatives that provide pro bono legal services to survivors of domestic violence. Contact your state or local bar association to inquire about available resources and referrals to legal assistance programs.
  6. Victim Advocacy Organizations: Victim advocacy organizations and crime victim compensation programs may offer legal advocacy and assistance to survivors of domestic violence, including help with navigating the criminal justice system, accessing victim compensation funds, and obtaining legal representation.
  7. Legal Clinics at Law Schools: Some law schools operate legal clinics or pro bono programs that provide free legal services to underserved populations, including survivors of domestic violence. These clinics may offer assistance with various legal matters, including family law, housing, immigration, and civil protection orders.
  8. Online Resources: There are numerous online resources and toolkits available for survivors of domestic violence seeking legal information and assistance. Websites such as, Legal Momentum, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence offer comprehensive information on legal rights, safety planning, and accessing legal services.

It's important for survivors of domestic violence to know that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them navigate the legal system and access the support they need to stay safe. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, consider reaching out to one of these organizations for assistance.

For those living in the Los Angeles area, you can consult the following resources:

Source: Break the Cycle

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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