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Illinois organization to counter domestic violence


Domestic violence is a very sensitive issue for residents of Lake County, Illinois, and the rest of the United States. Victims of domestic violence are often unwilling to talk about the topic, and children are very often the worst affected. Many sociologists believe that removal of children from a violent home is the initial step toward ending the cycle of violence.

Now domestic violence victims can seek free virtual legal advice. The Virtual Legal Clinic, an Illinois-based non-governmental organization, started three years ago. They set up a program that can be utilized by almost 20 counties in Illinois. The service will be expanded to another 40 counties in Illinois in the future.

The Illinois-based NGO connects with attorneys and puts them in touch with those in need of help via video calls like Skype. The calls are taken in a private room in the advocacy organizations, to protect victims. One of the program organizers, who had started off a clinic on domestic violence in a law school in southern Illinois, said that the state is doing better than others. Access to legal aid is often a great obstacle in addressing the issue.

The program will not provide advice on issues like protection orders, but does give advice on matters like joint and sole custody. That means one can access a clinic attorney only after the perpetrator of domestic violence is out of the household and the victim wants advice to set things on the right track. The clinic may also provide advice on what needs to be done now and what may wait. Domestic violence is a very sensitive issue, and when children and other tricky issues are involved, it may be beneficial to consult with an attorney for legal advice.

Source: The News Gazette, "Domestic violence victims can seek advice from 'Virtual Legal Clinic'," Tom Kacich, July 19, 2014

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