Gaining Hope and Healing Thanks to Legal Aid

Each year, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (DVLC) helps hundreds of domestic violence survivors escape isolation, regain control of their lives, and break the cycle of domestic violence. Edith is one of the many survivors who show up at DVLC’s office every day seeking to keep themselves and their children safe.

When Edith arrived at DVLC’s office in September, she was in serious danger. Her husband, Dan, had raped her and, to ensure her terror, fired a gun at the wall over her head. Police intervention ended that assault, but she knew her ordeal was not over. She and Dan have children together and he had abused her physically, sexually and emotionally for years.

DVLC’s emergency services attorneys helped Edith get an emergency order of protection that day, but when he was served Dan returned to their home, this time intending to kill Edith. He kicked in the door and was about to shoot her and turn the gun on himself when the police arrived. Edith was physically safe, but emotionally shattered.

Over the next few months, DVLC attorneys and a Client Support Coordinator worked closely with Edith as she endured both the criminal proceedings and protracted negotiations to obtain a long-term, plenary order of protection. DVLC’s employment attorney helped Edith keep her job, despite the multiple absences as a result of the many court appearances that were necessary.

DVLC also recognized that Edith’s safety and well-being (and that of her children) require far more than a legal victory, although that’s an important first step. DVLC worked with Edith to get assistance moving to a safer home, a place to build new memories. DVLC partnered with donors who fulfilled her children’s Christmas wishes at a time when Edith couldn’t manage it on her own. Today, Edith is busy working, taking care of her children, and for the first time in years, is not afraid.

Your Campaign in Action

  • DVLC received a $22,500 organizational support grant thanks to your generous support of the Campaign.
  • Overall, DVLC opened over 1,200 cases last year, more than 60 of which were handled by pro bono attorneys.
  • DVLC provides free civil legal assistance to low-income, domestic violence survivors in Cook County. DVLC’s holistic advocacy combines emergency and long-term legal aid and ensures that survivors and their children can escape and stay away from an abusive relationship.

Edith’s story shows that an attorney’s help can be the deciding factor in whether a domestic violence survivor and her family stay safe. Through your support of the Campaign, you are helping people like Edith gain hope and healing for themselves, their children and families.


If you want to help people like Edith, visit the CBF’s online Pro Bono Opportunities Guide to learn more about pro bono opportunities at DVLC.