Domestic Violence Clinic
Information for the Public
The Domestic Violence Clinical Advocacy Program supports survivors of domestic violence by:
- performing free legal consultations and assistance in the Safety Through Knowledge Legal Assistance Project;
- developing educational and training programs for the general public, domestice violence advocates, law students, judges, attorneys, and other professionals;
- developing legal forms that enable survivors to exercise their rights under Illinois statutes to overcome barriers they face to becoming safe; and
- crafting empirical-based policy proposals to improve the law’s response to domestic violence.
Free legal consultations and legal representation may be available to survivors of domestic violence in the Safety Through Knowledge Legal Assistance Project launched by the Domestic Violence Clinical Advocacy Program (DVCAP) in March 2015.
Under this project, DVCAP accepts for consideration prospective clients, referred by domestic violence service organizations that have provided services to the prospective clients such as risk assessments and safety planning.
If accepted for a legal consultation, survivors of domestic violence will be able to ask the volunteer attorneys legal questions they are facing due to the abuse they have experienced and, with student assistance, receive information on certain key legal protections available to them under Illinois and federal laws. The legal consultations will cover any one or more of the following areas of law depending on the client’s needs and availability of volunteer attorneys with relevant experience:
- Bankruptcy/Debt Relief/Credit Repair
- Crime Victim Compensation
- Employment Protections
- Family Law
- Housing Protections
- Federal Income Tax Relief
- Immigration Relief
- Orders of Protection
Whenever possible, law students training in the Domestic Violence Clinic will assist with the legal consultations under the direct supervision of the volunteer attorneys. In some cases, the students and attorneys will also be able to provide further legal assistance beyond the legal consultation.
Educational & Training Programs
Domestic violence is a more complicated problem than most people realize, with facets of it that are counter intuitive, such as the fact that oftentimes the most dangerous time for a survivor is when she separates from the abuser. While there are protective laws enacted in Illinois to address the numerous barriers that survivors face to becoming safe, many survivors are unaware of these laws or how to fully exercise their rights under them. The Domestic Violence Clinical Advocacy Program aims to address this through its annual educational program and the development of educational materials.
Watch our most recent domestic violence educational program online and download the materials from this program on the resources page.
We conduct empirical studies to determine how well the legal system is protecting the safety of survivors of domestic violence and their children. Policy implications are considered in light of the data we collect. We then publicize our findings in reports to the relevant governmental officials, in law reviews of general circulation, and on this website.