The Legal Center offers free legal advocacy and representation for survivors of intimate partner violence of all gender identities. Services include:
- Representatin for Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders
- Representation for Sexual Violence and Intimidation Orders
- Child Custody and Child Support
- Legal Options Counseling
- Safety Planning
- Court Accompaniment
Specialized support is available for survivors who are immigrants or refugees, survivors who have limited English proficiency, and survivors who have a disability.
To access one of these resources from the Women Against Abuse Legal Center, call 215.686.7082.
“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 made me feel safe and welcomed.”
These comments were provided by clients in anonymous satisfaction surveys.
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 3.500 individuals each year with free attorney representation, court advocacy or telephone counseling in seeking protection orders, child custody and support.
Attorney representation: Women Against Abuse provides free attorney representation to individuals seeking protection orders 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 and re-traumatizing for victims. 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.
Innovative Approaches: The Legal Center launched two innovative programs—the Telephone Outreach Program and the Fast-Track Attorney Program—to reach more victims of domestic violence and provide appropriate assistance.