Montgomery, Al – The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs recently awarded The One Place Family Justice Center, Legal Services Alabama and The Family Sunshine Center with a VOCA grant award, more than $124,000 of which will be awarded to LSA for increased domestic violence services.
Jaffe Pickett, Director of Resource Development & Strategic Partnerships notes, “LSA’s collaboration of services with One Place Family Justice Center (OPFJC) and Family Sunshine Center, will be strengthened through this critical funding.”
The grant will allow LSA to dedicate two Domestic Violence Attorneys to assist victims in acquiring crisis intervention services at the One Place Family Justice Center or in their community, according to a recent press release from One Place. In addition to comprehensive crisis intervention services to victims, the funding will provide additional law enforcement services at One Place, that will specialize in abuse cases involving the elderly, and will also fund two case managers and an attorney for The Family Sunshine Center, who will, along with LSA, work directly with One Place to support victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as offer safety and emergency resources.
LSA Executive Director Artur Davis stated that he is proud that Legal Services Alabama makes a stand on behalf of DV victims.
“While domestic violence strikes every class in our society, it is low income victims who cannot afford to hire a lawyer to go to court with them,” Davis said. “Their lack of resources makes them even more defenseless. This grant will pay the salaries of two full time DV lawyers in the Montgomery and River Region.”
Veteran Domestic Violence Attorney Jim Smith, who is the Director of LSA’s DV practice group, noted that OPFJC sees roughly 100 new intakes per month, and an additional legal aid lawyer on staff would help the intake process overall. “Will another lawyer be enough? No. However, another lawyer will double our potential capacity, and enable us to provide more holistic representation and similarly will reduce the number of victims for whom services are an unmet promise,” Smith said.
Smith has provided DV services to victims for more than 35 years, and leads LSA’s priority of services to DV victims program-wide.
ADECA is administering the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice to expand the free, professional services available to victims of domestic violence in Montgomery County.