Standing with Isabella
Written on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 10:17 am by Kristin Valentine in Bread for the City, Client stories, Domestic Violence Legal Services Project, donors, Legal Clinic
“I needed to escape from him,” said Isabella. “No matter what.”
Bread for the City helps hundreds of clients like Isabella find safety and stability. As part of our holistic services — food, clothing, medical care — we also have attorneys on staff who help domestic violence survivors get Civil Protection Orders, divorces, child custody, child support, and public benefits. This work takes a really long time, but is critical to helping families get out and get safe while continuing to meet their most basic human needs.
A Bread for the City attorney took on Isabella’s case almost a year ago to help her figure out how she and her child could safely leave their unstable home. On her own time, the Bread attorney even found furniture for Isabella’s new home, drove the delivery truck, and unloaded the furniture.
“In addition to her professional responsibilities, she does things that no other lawyer in the area will do – such as driving a U-Haul truck herself to deliver secondhand furniture to my new home.”
As important as that assistance was, leaving a domestic violence situation isn’t just a matter of a new address. There are the complexities of employment, child care, income supports, health care — the list goes on and on. This is why an attorney is so crucial, and can make the difference between a survivor remaining independent or returning to her abuser.
Isabella explains, “With all the legal complications involved in my case, my attorney patiently explains the legal options, appropriately offers advice and respects my decisions. This assures me that I am doing the right thing. At court, when I have to face my husband – who continues to try to blame and intimidate me – my insecurity rises, but with my attorney by my side, I regain strength to stand against unfairness.”
A year later, Isabella and her son remain safe, but Bread’s work is not yet done. Isabella still needs to finalize her divorce, and work out a custody and child support agreement. All this would be nearly impossible if Isabella did not have an attorney on her side.
Isabella only has an attorney because donors like you chose to support Bread for the City. Please help this good work continue by making a contribution today and then asking others to do the same. Your gifts cannot come soon enough.