In the News

NEW Project! Access to Justice for Survivors

February 22, 2019

For more than a decade, the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice (CSAJ) has worked to address the link between economic security and safety for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. We’re thrilled to announce we are taking this work to a new level by launching the Access to Justice for Survivors Project, supported by the Office on Violence Against Women, DOJ.

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.

Register for our April 24, 2019 launch webinar here

The Issue

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:

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

2) 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;

3) 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;

4) The cost of legal representation is out of reach for many survivors, or may even be unavailable in some rural areas.

Project Activities:

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.

Please contact us to learn more or get involved with any of our exciting activities:

ACCESS Institutes (ACounting for Costs to Ensure Survivor Safety Institute).

In 2020 and 2021, CSAJ will provide 2-day, in person trainings for up to 75 non-lawyer legal advocates.

Webinar Trainings:

90 minute webinar trainings to build a cohort of advocates and to expand and strengthen institute learning and implementation. Register for our launch webinar here

Bi-Monthly Peer Exchange Calls:

To provide a regular space for connection, learning, and exchange between advocates, advocates and attorneys, and across sectors.

Individual technical assistance:

CSAJ and partners will offer individualized technical assistance to grantees to assist with individual representation as well as organizational and systems advocacy to support organizations in building the capacity to fully address the cost-related barriers to justice.

Organizational Partners and Expert Advisors in this work, include:

ArchCity Defenders
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (APIGBV)
Camille D. Holmes,J.D., CDH Consulting
Casa de Esperanza
Center for Court Innovation
Katie VonDeLinde, MSW, LCSW, KMCV Consulting
National Legal Aid & Defender’s Association

Target Audience

This Project will target non-lawyer legal advocates funded by Legal Assistance to Victims (LAV) serving survivors of DV, SA, stalking, and dating violence.


for our launch webinar here
April 24, 2019 - 9:00am PT, 10:00pm MT, 11:00pm CT, 12:00pm ET