connect Winner / 2021
Justice and safety for survivors
We seek to address the lack of safety and accessibility to justice for immigrants who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse and the problem of some government and law enforcement agencies that become barriers to their seeking justice and safety rather than being part of the solutions. When an immigrant survivor receives justice and feels safe, they have the ability to becoming more integrated into our communities.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
The problems we seek to address are the lack of safety and accessing justice for immigrants who are survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault along with the problem of some government and law enforcement agencies that become barriers to these issues rather than being part of the solutions. Integration is difficult in a good situation for immigrants, let alone for ones who are survivors. LACLJ serves survivors (mostly immigrants) of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault through free legal representation and free legal support for a survivor seeking justice and safety. Survivors are underrepresented and oppressed to begin with and now have gone through trauma and have to go through this legal system on their own, without attorneys, in court with their abuser who has the right to cross examine them. In regards to government being more responsive to residents, survivors are consistently met with barriers rather than comprehensive solutions to support them being safe.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
Current programs are creating safety and justice for immigrants who are survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, including those who have been trafficked, while working to make all government and law enforcement agencies providers of solutions rather than barriers. LACLJ provides free legal representation to help survivors secure restraining orders and favorable custody orders so they may be protected and their children be protected from violence. For sexual assault survivors, attorneys explain the criminal process, ensuring survivors feel safe to report, and then work to ensure survivors’ rights are protected during the prosecution of the perpetrator. Another program at LACLJ is obtaining immigration status and ending the fear of deportation for immigrants we serve. Survivors sometimes choose not to seek justice or safety because of the fear of being deported if they do so. Our 40-year history has showed that as we serve survivors and bring justice and safety into their lives, they become more integrated into our community and those in government who are tasked with supporting them have the ability to understand them and their challenges in a higher level. As we work with survivors we see the barriers through government services and agencies meant to help them actually create barriers for them when seeking justice and safety, such as a survivor being able to file for a restraining order without having to enter any public place where the abuser may be present.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
LA County would be different if our work is successful because we would have more (low, income, immigrant) women taking control of their lives and their families’ lives, moving beyond the oppression of abusive relationships, empowered and fully engaging in the benefits of our society by speaking up and accessing their legal rights. LA County is also different in the way survivors feel about their own individual lives, including the safety they feel, which adds hope and justice to LA County. Immigrants are much more easily integrated into our communities when they experience safety and justice. LA County will also be different in the way all government agencies serve (or don’t serve) survivors and being institutions that support survivors receiving justice and finding safety rather than being barriers to these things. A different LA County in regards to government agencies and law enforcement would mean that these powers are used to protect and support survivors.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We consistently survey those we have served to ensure levels of justice and safety after having worked with them. In 2019, 94% of exiting clients reported they knew what to do in response to threats to their safety, and 92% agreed or strongly agreed that they understood their legal rights. 71% of clients felt that they knew about services that could help them (a 54% improvement from intake), and 72% of those clients felt they were receiving enough help from those services. 89% of clients said after receiving services they felt less fear, 91% felt more confidence, 89% felt more hopeful. 89% of parents reported that they had a better relationship with their children, and there was a 63% increase in the number of parents reporting they were satisfied with their ability to co-parent. 44% of clients reported satisfaction with their financial condition after receiving services (a 200% increase over those clients at intake).
Which of the connect metrics will you impact?
- Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
- Immigrant integration