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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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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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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Overbrook Presbyterian’s Story

Overbrook Presbyterian’s Story

The Women’s Dining Circle of Overbrook Presbyterian Church knows how to make fundraising down right fun. In January, the Dining Circle hosted a dinner that raised over $1,200 for Women Against Abuse.

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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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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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Lucia’s Story

Lucia’s Story

Lucia* came to the WAA emergency shelter pregnant and with five children.

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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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Beth Huffman’s Story

Beth Huffman’s Story

When a survivor's child was in trouble, Beth Huffman helped organize a press conference to get the story out on behalf of Women Against Abuse's Legal Center.

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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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Lonnie & Jordan’s Story

Lonnie & Jordan’s Story

The life-saving work that Women Against Abuse achieves each day would not be possible without the support of advocates in the community.

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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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