FreeFrom: Economic Justice and Stability for Survivors of Domestic Violence

November 15, 2016


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LAAC welcomes ‘FreeFrom’ to the legal aid community!

Too often survivors of domestic violence struggle to leave their abusers because of financial barriers to escape. When planning to leave an abuser, a survivor must ask herself: Where will I live? Where will I work? How will I support myself? How will I support my children? In large part, survivors are forced to rely on their abusers financially and, for them, fleeing abuse might mean risking poverty, homelessness and maybe even risking child custody. Many survivors who escape abuse eventually return to their abusers because they find they cannot afford to leave for good. FreeFrom is a national organization based in Los Angeles, on a mission to eradicate the financial barriers that prevent survivors from rebuilding safe lives for themselves and their children.

Their approach is three-fold:

Tort litigation: Their goal is to help survivors hold their abusers financially accountable for the abuse they have perpetrated. To that end, they pair survivors with pro bono and contingency-fee counsel to pursue civil tort claims against abusers and provide training and technical assistance to those attorneys through the entirety of the case. (To receive our referral screening guidelines, please email Amira Samuel, amira.samuel@freefrom.org)

Policy reform: FreeFrom works to remove barriers to justice through legislative reform.  Most states do not have a domestic violence tort and the statute of limitations for assault and battery claims are between 1-2 years. Moreover, the evidentiary requirements to prove assault or battery are largely unduly burdensome for survivors to meet. FreeFrom is working to extend the time to file a claim and relax the evidentiary burdens placed on survivors in each state.

Small business support: FreeFrom helps survivors to start their own small businesses by providing training, business plan consulting, mentorship, seed funding, legal services, and logo, branding and website development services free of charge through an incubator model. It is their hope that these businesses go on to provide employment to other survivors of domestic violence, thus building communities of survivors helping survivors out of abuse.

If you are interested in learning more about FreeFrom’s programs and how they can help your clients, please reach out to them. They are here to help and would love to talk to you.

Website:

www.freefrom.org

Contact info:

Sonya Passi, Founder and CEO, sonya.passi@freefrom.org

Amira Samuel, Legal Director, amira.samuel@freefrom.org.

See FreeFrom's website.

Organizations mentioned/involved: FreeFrom
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