More than 70,000 domestic violence cases are reported annually in New Jersey. Many of these individuals, mostly women, have urgent legal needs and are often in violent situations where their safety, and the safety of their children, is at stake. Although the domestic violence law in our state is favorable to victims, many are not aware of their rights. Without counsel, they do not know how to access the legal system for their benefit. Unsurprisingly, there is an enormous need for attorneys in the area of domestic violence. Many women, however, are not represented because they cannot afford an attorney, and there are not enough pro bono attorneys undertaking these types of cases.
Recognizing the need for indigent women to have legal representation in domestic violence cases, Gibbons P.C., in a joint effort between its Women’s Initiative and its Pro Bono Committee, reached out to Partners For Women and Justice to work together to promote the interests of women through the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program, itself a joint effort by Partners and the Rachel Coalition. Partners’ mission is to empower low-income and abused women to build safe and secure futures for themselves and their children by providing equal access to justice. Partners serves its clients through the work of its dedicated legal staff and the efforts of more than 200 pro bono attorneys who participate in the DV Pro Bono Program. Together, Rachel and Partners recruit, train, and mentor attorneys interested in helping victims of domestic violence achieve safety for themselves and their children. Since the program was established in 2005, volunteer attorneys have handled more than 1,000 cases on behalf of victims of domestic violence.