Internet Safety

Legal Center

Program Summary

The Legal Center offers free legal advocacy and representation for both males and females dealing with relationship violence-related legal matters, including:

  • Protection From Abuse (PFA)
  • Child Custody and Child Support
  • Legal Options Counseling
  • Safety Planning
  • Court Accompaniment

For free legal help from the Women Against Abuse Legal Center, call 215.686.7082.


Client Feedback

“I cannot express how truly grateful I am for the services I received from WAA.”

“Every staff member that I spoke to and met with were very patient and informative.”

“The staff at the facility made me feel safe and welcomed.”

These comments were provided by clients in anonymous satisfaction surveys.

 

Program Detail

Lack of understanding of the criminal and legal systems can become significant barriers to victims of domestic violence in establishing safety. Legal advocacy is often the deciding factor in whether a victim will successfully leave an abusive relationship.

In Philadelphia, 85% of individuals seeking civil protection from abuse (PFA) orders lack representation and must appear pro se despite their lack of familiarity with the judicial process. Consequently, the majority of pro se petitioners are unable to present the necessary evidence to establish eligibility for a PFA, even though the facts of their case entitle them to one. WAA’s Legal Center fills such information gaps by working with victims to navigate the complexities of the legal system in order to obtain life-saving protections under law.

Clients often face multiple challenges, including victimization from domestic violence and/or stalking, homelessness, poverty, and unemployment. The Legal Center provides more than 6,000 individuals each year with free attorney representation, court advocacy or telephone counseling in seeking protection from abuse orders, child custody and support.

Attorney representation: WAA provides free attorney representation to individuals seeking protection from abuse or child custody and support.

Court advocacy: Women Against Abuse court advocates provide direct legal assistance and safety planning to victims of domestic violence in court who may be unfamiliar with the Women Against Abuse Legal Center. Advocates help clients navigate the legal process, which can be cumbersome, abstruse and re-traumatizing for victims. WAA court advocates are stationed in Philadelphia Family Court, where protection from abuse cases are heard, and in Philadelphia’s two criminal courtrooms dedicated to domestic violence cases.

New initiatives: The Legal Center launched two new programs—the Telephone Outreach Program and the Fast-Track Attorney Program—to reach more victims of domestic violence and provide appropriate assistance. 

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Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Pro bono representation provided by local law firms makes a meaningful difference for the thousands of clients seeking help at our Legal Center.

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Sarah’s Story

Sarah’s Story

Sarah joined Women Against Abuse in September 2010 through a partnership program with the German peace and volunteer organization ARSP.

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Sara’s Story

Sara’s Story

Sara* was a victim of domestic violence who transformed into a strong and capable mother with support from Women Against Abuse.

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Mike’s Story

Mike's Story

Mike, a former police detective with the Philadelphia Police Department, has been working as the police liaison for Women Against Abuse, so that he can help survivors in ways he couldn’t as a detective.

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Justine’s Story

Justine’s Story

Justine got to know Eric in college, while working part time at a Virginia-based home improvement store. They began casually dating in 1999, eventually marrying in May of 2006. Looking back, her sister, Lauren, can see the red flags.

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Amy’s Story

Amy’s Story

“This is not OK; this is not who I will be; I will love my children; violence will not be allowed in my home.”

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Dick MacKay’s Story

Dick MacKay’s Story

Dick MacKay knows the real reason for the holiday season—to bring hope to families in need.

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Renee’s Story

Renee’s Story

Renee Norris Jones experienced 7 years of domestic violence at a time when few resources existed to help victims escape abuse.

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Sheila’s Story

Sheila’s Story

Sheila arrived at the Women Against Abuse Emergency Shelter after waking up in a hospital emergency room.

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Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of SofterWare, Inc., recently provided a challenge match through the Schoenberg Family Charitable Fund as an incentive to help Women Against Abuse gain new monthly donors.

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If you or someone you know needs help, call our toll-free 24-hour Hotline:

1.866.723.3014

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