The Access to Justice for Survivors Project (Access Project) will fill gaps in low-income survivors’ ability to access systems by working with non-lawyer legal advocates to address the costs of domestic violence (DV)  and sexual assault (SA) and remove the systemic economic barriers and inequities that impede survivors’ access to economic justice and physical safety. Join CSAJ as we share how LAV grantees across the country can get involved in our new cohort of legal advocates with peer exchange calls, technical assistance, and more, all leading up to our 2-day, in person training at the ACCESS ((ACounting for Costs to Ensure Survivor Safety) Institute in 2020.

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The Access to Justice for Survivors Project (Access Project) will fill gaps in low-income survivors’ ability to access systems by working with non-lawyer legal advocates to address the costs of domestic violence (DV)  and sexual assault (SA) and remove the systemic economic barriers and inequities that impede survivors’ access to economic justice and physical safety.

The legal system is a critical entry point for survivors in their efforts to secure physical safety and economic security. Yet, the vast majority of DV and SA survivors face a range of barriers in accessing justice. While there are extraordinary efforts to increase access to justice from multiple angles, there is less attention on addressing the full range of costs associated with accessing and navigating justice systems:

Survivors incur profound costs resulting from the abuse they have experienced that restricts their access to justice systems;

There are simultaneous “life generated costs” (e.g. limited or unaffordable housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care, and childcare), which are often faced by underserved and culturally specific survivors;

Courts and other social systems are costly to navigate, often prohibitively so. To access long-term safety, survivors must navigate multiple and diverse legal systems, pursuing and defending court cases. They may be involved in criminal cases as either a victim witness or a criminal defendant (based on dual/mandatory arrests stemming from abuse or coerced criminal acts), and subjected to court fines and fees that are disproportionately imposed on underserved survivor communities;

The cost of legal representation is out of reach for many survivors, or may even be unavailable in some rural areas. Non-attorney legal advocates are well positioned to attend to the full costs of DV/SA. The Access project will provide training, peer exchange, and partnership building opportunities to provide vital services to address the costs of DV/SA.