Access to Legal Assistance Decreases Domestic Violence in Southwest Virginia

In a study released last week, an increase of legal aid for victims of domestic violence over the past six years in southwest Virginia has led to a 35 percent decline of requested protective orders over the same period. The Southwest Legal Aid Society (SVLAS) now has four attorneys and three paralegals working on their domestic violence staff.

SVLAS executive director Larry Harley said in a press release “If a victim wishes to aggressively pursue her matter through the courts, then we’re there to help her do that, but we’re not there to push her to do that, since some women don’t want to seek a protective order…However, they might benefit from our safety planning or the work we can do with counseling agencies, or domestic violence programs, because we work in partnership with all other agencies.”


Public News Service VA 3/27/09

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