Last month, we watched a mother from Arapahoe County seek justice for her family and begin a brighter future in her city. Rosa was a victim of abuse for years. When she finally called the police and reported her abuser, her life changed forever. “I reported my partner after he punched me several times in front of the kids. The police were able to help me; however, I was afraid of losing custody of my children and my house if I decided to file for divorce – Something I had to do by myself. Thank God I was referred to JAMLAC!” – Rosa M., JAMLAC’s Client
Unfortunately, reports of domestic violence have increased since the COVID-19 outbreak. Domestic violence is a primary cause of family homelessness. Inaccessibility to a lawyer can be devastating as victims often lack resources and legal knowledge to free themselves and their children from the impact of violence. Providing access to legal resources not only improves outcomes for those seeking assistance but can also save public dollars in the long term, by preventing problems like homelessness or health issues that can be extremely costly and harmful to individuals and the public.
Unlike in criminal cases, low-income individuals in civil cases do not have access to state-paid legal representation and are at risk of not receiving justice. Many civil legal problems involve fundamental issues such as general safety, housing, and parental rights. When the legal needs of a low-income person are not addressed, a host of other problems often follow, such as loss of employment, housing, or custody of children. Legal services have been identified by survivors, service providers, advocates, state administrators, and other allied professionals as the number one need for survivors to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of crime.
When Rosa came to JAMLAC, she could not sleep, thinking she could lose her children and her home. With the help of the Arapahoe County Aid to Agencies grant program, we were able to help Rosa with her Dissolution of Marriage case, including a parenting plan for her children. She is now safe and ready to start a new life.
When JAMLAC’s attorneys take a case, they aren’t helping just one person. They are supporting an entire family and the broader community. Thank you Arapahoe county for supporting legal services for low-income victims in Arapahoe County!