Everyone deserves a life free of violence. That’s the philosophy behind Laura’s House, an Orange County non-profit group I have been fortunate enough to work with as a volunteer attorney over the past four years.
Laura’s House provides emergency shelter, counseling and many other services to victims of domestic violence and their children. Over the last 22 years, they have provided life skills, education, and legal assistance to over 50,000 residents of Southern California.
Domestic violence is much more common than you may think. On average, a woman is beaten once every seven seconds in the U.S. Almost half of all female homicides are the result of domestic violence, and thousands of men are victimized by their partners every year.
Laura’s House offers monthly legal clinics for domestic violence victims to meet with a licensed volunteer attorney (like me) for no fee. I have been fortunate enough to assist many men and women at these clinics. Laura’s House services are fundamental to these victims, as the clinics often provide them with a time to arm themselves with the legal strategy of his/her case and obtain the confidence necessary to face his/her abuser in court when there is no alternative but to obtain a temporary restraining order for immediate protection. My assistance as a volunteer attorney does not stop there. Laura’s House also offers clinics to assist victims in appearing in court to obtain the permanent restraining order following the ex parte hearing.
Of course, sometimes a case is too complex to solve all at once. When Laura’s House refers a long-term client to me, I work closely with the individual to develop a personalized legal plan particular to the facts of the case. Most important to me is that my clients understand I am a fierce advocate devoted to helping them (and their children) obtain a better life prospectively.
It’s easy to think of victims of domestic violence as just that – victims. However, they are some of the strongest individuals I have met and worked with. That’s really what keeps me volunteering for Laura’s House – the opportunity to continue helping victims of domestic abuse who are working toward a better life and trying to overcome the uphill battle of leaving a loved one behind. These individuals often feel alone and flee the relationship financially disadvantaged, and should not be left to struggle with the legal system just because he or she cannot afford legal representation. I believe anyone fortunate enough to work as an attorney should do their part to give back.
Clients I meet through my volunteer work always tell me how grateful they are for Laura’s House. If you or anyone you know suffers from domestic abuse, reach out – their team truly cares.
About the Author
Tracey Lundquist has been a volunteer attorney for Laura’s House over the last 4 years. She has helped many victims suffering from domestic violence navigate the legal system.
Tracey practices law at her own firm in Tustin, California.
For more information, visit www.tlfamilylaw.com