Justice and Safety for Survivors
We seek to address the continuing lack of safety and accessibility to justice for immigrants who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and human trafficking and the problem of some government and law enforcement agencies that become barriers to their seeking justice and safety rather than being part of the solutions. When an immigrant survivor receives justice and feels safe, they have the ability to become more integrated into our communities. Our wrap around services also address barriers with mental health and homelessness.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Immigrant and Refugee Support
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
The issue we seek to address is immigrant's access to justice who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Some government and law enforcement agencies create barriers to these issues rather than life saving solutions. Integration is difficult in a good situation for immigrants, let alone for immigrant survivors. Our legal system is not designed for self-represented litigants but rather for people with lawyers. Survivors are underrepresented, oppressed, and have experienced trauma. They must navigate this system on their own, without attorneys, in court, face their abuser who has the right to cross-examine them. Attorneys are needed to help the survivor get justice, which is where we come in. Examples of the issues are language barriers, lack of childcare, lack of a response and follow-up from law enforcement, difficulty accessing records, and lack of urgency when it’s not perceived to be a imminent emergency.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Through a trauma Informed and integrated services model, we seek support to strengthen our current programs and continue to provide free legal services, case management, homelessness prevention, mental health, and social services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. We focus on removing barriers such as language and disability access. Our programs include Immigration and Family Law, Criminal Justice Advocacy, Public Benefits, Restraining Orders. A unique component of our work that supports clients is our Community Advocate (CA) program. Services are built-in to LACLJ’s legal services. CA are social workers in training, who work under the direction of the attorney to help clients with non-legal needs they may have that are related to their case. The legal process is difficult and not designed to be friendly to survivors. CA’s simplify the process, assist clients through their entire journey – to achieve their goals. Depending on the client’s need, the CA may provide supportive services such as: Court accompaniment, Safety planning, Navigation of public services and benefits, Homelessness prevention, and Disability Access. Our unique model works. Immigrant survivors don’t just present with one legal issue. They have multiple issues and we address all of them. As a result, they become more integrated in the community. The government officials we work with are educated on immigrant rights. We remove barriers and our clients feel safer.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
If our work is successful LA Country would have more (low, income, immigrant) women taking control of their lives and their families' lives, moving beyond the oppression of abusive relationships, empowered, and fully engaging in the benefits of our society/government by speaking up and accessing their legal rights. All the burden of being a immigrant survivor falls on them. They call a hotline, call police, move out, change jobs, change schools, represent themselves in court- and while empowerment and taking control is critical, up to this point the survivor had no control over their own lives and now are expected to figure out the entire complicated system on their own. Integrated systems we support shift the burden to the community to truly support the immigrant survivor. We imagine an LA County where immigrant survivors feel safe, integrated, supported, and they thrive.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We measure program success through individual and aggregate client outcomes. Our unique integrated legal/human service model is designed to achieve justice and empowerment for clients by improving both the intrapersonal and social factors that contribute to an immigrant survivor’s well-being, such as knowledge, self-concept, social connections, and access to community resources. LACLJ tracks data on client progress toward goals through a case management software. LACLJ also conducts pre- and post-assessments to measure intrapersonal changes (such as increased knowledge about the legal process, and positive coping skills) and interpersonal/social changes (such as change in receipt of public benefits or community involvement). Advocates also conduct self-sufficiency assessments (ASSM) every 90 days to measure progress based on indicators such as food, housing, access to childcare, and physical and mental health services, among others.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 1,000
Indirect Impact: 2,700