Access to Justice Project

Access to Justice Project

CSAJ’s ACCESS to Justice Project (ACounting for the Costs to Economic Security for Survivors) is unique in its focus on the economic barriers that many domestic and sexual violence survivors face in access to justice within the civil legal system.

This project seeks to enhance the power of non-lawyer legal advocates in supporting survivors’ paths to economic justice via specialized training and skill-building to:

  • Provide legal advocacy that proactively assists survivors in accessing the resources needed for safety
  • Identify and build networks for collaboration
  • Identify and address the costs and systemic barriers associated with navigating courts and the civil legal system

What are the costs to accessing justice?

The civil legal system can be a critical entry point for survivors in their efforts to secure physical safety and economic security. But there are multiple costs and hurdles to entry. And survivors may need to pursue and defend cases in multiple and diverse legal systems – from protection orders, housing, employment, public benefits, child custody, immigration, education, and an array of consumer issues including debt collection. All of which prevents the vast majority of domestic and sexual violence survivors from accessing justice.

CSAJ’s Access Project helps non-lawyer legal advocates understand, examine, and address these costs and barriers that show up in four key ways:

Financial Harm from Abuse Survivors incur profound financial costs as a result of abuse, which we call the “economic ripple effect of violence.”

The Price-Tags of Poverty Survivors face simultaneous “life-generated costs,” often made worse for those on the social margins (i.e. race, citizenship, language, religion, gender/sexual identity)

The Costs to Navigate Courts Courts, the legal system, and other social services are often too costly to navigate due, simply, to the time/resources required as well as by enforcing or imposing fees and fines

Legal Representation is Expensive Attorneys can help secure meaningful economic security, but there are few no/low-cost attorneys available and others are too expensive or not willing to take on complex cases

Access to Justice eCourse

This eCourse is designed to enhance non-lawyer legal advocates’ capacity to engage in survivor centered economic advocacy and increase their understanding of the legal context on core economic issue-areas. It consists of seven (7) modules that you can work through on your own time – individually, with a colleague, or as part of a larger group/team. Each module includes at least one 30-45 minute video, reading and activities, and additional tools and resources to help you move from learning to practice.

ENROLL here! Free and easy

We are hosting TWO Learning Cohorts to work through the eCourse in 2022. Interested? Click here/Contact Us.

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Get Involved

If you’re a non-lawyer legal advocate working directly with survivors, or a program leader looking for opportunities for your team, we offering a range of cutting-edge trainings, resources, and individualized assistance to support you and your programs and communities. All cutting-edge. All free and open-access.

Core Resources

Here are some core resources, trainings, and tools that have been produced to date.

Starting the Economic Conversation an Advocacy Guide: This quick-guide provides a framework for effectively asking questions about money with survivors and integrating economics into your advocacy

Webinar: Foundations of Survivor Centered Economic Advocacy: A webinar describing the survivor-centered economic advocacy model and discussing strategies to increase survivor’s economic security in the face of COVID-19

Webinar: Beyond Self-Care in Times of COVID A webinar giving advocates the opportunity to exchange challenges, learn strategies for resiliency and well-being, and gain peer support during COVID-19

COVID-19 Town Hall: This recording of a Q&A with diverse experts covers ways to protect survivors’ economic security, access COVID-19 stimulus checks, and more, during the pandemic

Access to Justice during COVID-19: Notes & Reflections By and For the Field Notes from a series of peer exchange calls on immigration, addressing safety in rural areas, self care, and navigating courts during COVID-19

This project is supported all or in part by Grant No. 2018-TA-AX-K010 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in the publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.