In the News

CRDVSI Expert Advisor Presents at Economic Justice Summit

August 11, 2012

On June 15th, 2012, Laura Russell, Expert Adviser to CSAJ and Supervising Attorney at the Legal Aid Society in New York City, presented at the Texas Council on Family Violence’s 2012 Economic Justice Summit on behalf of the Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors Initiative.

The presentation was titled “Individual Advocacy and Legal Rights in Consumer Issues, and Building Partnerships to Access these Rights.” The presentation focused on identifying consumer issues for domestic violence survivors, the importance of addressing these issues, and assisting advocates in finding the necessary resources to be most useful to clients. The first part of the presentation was a discussion of the various types of consumer issues that survivors face, such as mounting debt, lack of knowledge of assets, debts and properties, and coerced debt taken out by their abusers. Next, the presentation moved to a discussion of clients’ multiple competing priorities, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed and disincentivized to face complex consumer issues, when other more immediate safety needs must be addressed. Unfortunately, this may precipitate additional obstacles to longterm safety, as survivors’ debts can be a barrier to accessing housing, employment, and financial security. The presentation ended with a discussion of a pilot project in New York City that assists debtors in gaining access to legal advice and brief domestic violence services while they are in court for their debts.