100WomenStrong has issued a new challenge grant to support the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter’s Legal Services program.The philanthropy group is seeking public contributions to match or exceed its recent $50,000 seed donation.
LAWS is the only domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center in Virginia with a legal department.LAWS’ Legal Services offers free legal consultation or representation tovictims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking who need assistance obtaining a protective order or with other family law issues.
“Escaping a violent situation is costly and difficult, particularly for those whose abusers control access to funds or have isolated the victim from support they would need to break free,” stated LAWS CEO Judy Hanley. “This always is a concern, but it is even greater since the COVID-19 pandemic has increased isolation and economic uncertainty for so many in our County.
“According to theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, the conditions of the pandemic may have created violence in families where it didn’t exist before and worsened situations in homes where mistreatment and violence already was a problem,” Hanley said. “Supporting these victims with free legal advice or representation is more imperative now than ever, particularly since the pandemic will continue to affect our community for at least another several months. We at LAWS are so thankful to 100WomenStrong for their caring and support.”
LAWS provided services to more than 1,200 clients during 2020, and approximately 250 received free, confidential legal services, including consultation with an attorney, legal representation for victims obtaining a protective order,legal representation for victims in custody, divorce, child support & spousal support hearings, assistance with filing for protective orders, and courtaccompaniment by an advocate.
“LAWS offers invaluable support and services to victims of domestic and partner violence in our community,” said Karen Schaufeld, founder and president of 100WomenStrong. “According to the CDC, approximately one in four women and almost one in 10 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Its effects, including mental health issues, can last for years.
“100WomenStrong is asking the community to step up to support the LAWS Legal Services department in its mission to protect victims of domestic and partner violence from their abusers and to free them to move forward to a better life.”
To contribute by mail, send a check with 100WS – LAWS Legal Services in the memo line toLAWS, 105 East Market Street, Leesburg, VA 20176.
To donate online go to lcsj.org/donate-to-laws and click the “Donate Now” button. On the donation page you will see: “If you have a special purpose for your donation, please let us know.” In the “I want my donation to be dedicated” type: 100WS – Legal Services
To reach a LAWS legal services advocate, call 703-771-3397.