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Wednesday, April 22 • 11:05am - 11:25am
Diminishing Domestic Violence: How Free Civil Legal Aid, Advocacy, and Availability of Information Effectively Help to Break the Cycles of Abuse

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With the overwhelming statistics attesting to the alarmingly high number of people who are victim to intimate partner violence each year, combined with proven research and documentation affirming that the availability of free civil legal services directly impacts and reduces the incidences and rates of recurrence of domestic violence, it is abundantly clear that more programs offering free civil legal aid to victims of domestic violence, as well as increased allocation of funds for existing programs, must be established in order to more adequately combat the inexcusably persistent and problematic issue of domestic violence. This paper will address the proven success rates, as well as the far-reaching and resonating benefits of existing free civil legal aid programs throughout the nation, while also focusing particular attention on Western North Carolina’s Lifeline program offered by Pisgah Legal Services. This paper will also advocate for increased availability and funding for such programs, while also suggesting ways in which the legal profession and those who practice it can take a more accommodating and active role in helping to address the overwhelming problem of domestic violence, such as by implementing amongst lawyers a mandatory minimum of pro-bono hours to be devoted to applicable free legal aid organizations. Additionally, by further exploring the various factors and circumstances, be they social, economic, or otherwise which render people susceptible to abusive relationships and domestic violence situations, as well as assessing the inherently, yet not incorrigible, problematic legal and cultural environment responsible for reacting to this concern, this paper will argue that the very same systems, cycles, and organizations that are responsible for addressing the ramifications of domestic violence must also be held culpable to enact programs which make abundantly available information, advocacy, and assistance in order to alleviate, rather than reinforce the cycle of domestic violence.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 11:05am - 11:25am PDT
246 Zageir Hall

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