Share This

Related Posts

Tags

Helping Domestic Abuse Survivors

By on Mar 1, 2021 in Uncategorized

When life presents unfathomable challenges, some people respond with insurmountable compassion. The founders of For Your Record are among the compassionate people who turn tragedy into triumph. We’re happy to highlight Julie Dennis, senior analyst, special projects. She is a founder of the nonprofit and a Yardi Scottsdale team member.

Read on to learn about her empowering work in the nonprofit sector.

Surviving gray relationships in a black-and-white legal system

Navigating the legal system is complicated and intimidating in even the best situations. Survivors of domestic violence face additional court legal hurdles in their journey towards safety, freedom and independence.

“Domestic abuse survivors often face a lack of understanding and empathy as they navigate the legal system, from law enforcement to judges and prosecutors,” explains Julie. “Domestic abuse involves a lot of gray area that isn’t easily understood unless you’ve survived it, so a black-and-white legal system makes things tricky.”

Certain public records are only available for free to people classified as victims of crimes, which means that the costs of obtaining records can escalate quickly if a survivor is not listed as a victim on a specific report.

She continues, “An overwhelming majority of domestic abuse survivors experience financial abuse as well. What that means is that they don’t have their own money or don’t have access to the money they have. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a survivor and accessing funds can be problematic.”

Financially successful people are not exempt from such challenges, either. Abusers commonly restrict access to monetary resources, and there isn’t a “certain type of person” who falls prey to domestic abuse, says Dennis.

“Domestic abuse does not discriminate. It impacts every class, profession, race and gender. There is no typical survivor. Accomplished individuals with considerable earning power can be denied access to their own funds just as easily as anyone else.”

Dennis believes that law enforcement and the judicial system need additional, mandatory training to better understand domestic abuse survivors and the situations they are living in or trying to escape. Until then, her non-profit aims to bridge the gap between court services and the funds that help survivors re-establish autonomy.

For Your Record

For Your Record offers micro grants to domestic abuse survivors to cover the cost of court filing fees and public records fees. As an organization, it does not pay legal fees. It does try to offset the financial burden that comes with filing paperwork for a judicial review.

The fees add up quickly. Legal costs shouldn’t stand between a person, their safety or the safety of their children.

“For example, it costs more than $300 just to file the paperwork for a separation or divorce in Arizona, even if you are in danger,” says Dennis.

Through For Your Record, survivors receive financial assistance to offset the exorbitant costs of independence and support. Their services are needed now more than ever.

Surviving abuse during the pandemic

The pandemic exacerbated situations of domestic abuse. “Domestic abuse is an isolating experience, which is intentional by the abuser,” Dennis explains. “As the world has isolated further, survivors are stuck at home more often with their abusers. Those who aren’t going to an office to work have no respite from habitual abuse as they used to. Experts fear the rate of abuse is raising, but it’s hard to confirm as survivors have fewer options during the pandemic.”

While many shelters persevered to stay open and offer vital services during the pandemic, several experience financial difficulty and a lack of staff and beds. Transitional housing and employment programs also suffered, stalling the steps many survivors take towards independence.

The need for For Your Record services has increased before the nonprofit could formally open its doors. The new 501(c)(3) non-profit is currently raising funds for operations and will be available to serve survivors this summer.

To reach their goal, the founders need your support. “The best way to support For Your Record is to donate to our cause at our website, or share our mission with friends, family and colleagues,” says Dennis.

“Domestic abuse is a quiet, insidious issue that isn’t talked about by the people experiencing it. But when a connection is made between two individuals who have experienced it or by a shared mission, it opens people to conversation,” says Dennis.

To learn more, visit www.foryourrecord.org.