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Virtual Legal Aid Clinic for Domestic Violence Survivors

SafePath Survivor Resources

Legal help for domestic violence survivors in the Quad Cities is now just a Skype call away. Today, SafePath Survivor Resources in Moline opened the first virtual domestic violence legal clinic in the area.

Supervisor, Wendy Navarro, says domestic violence isn't just emotional and physical; it can be financial, and survivors often don't have enough money to pay for attorneys. 

"A virtual legal clinic that allows a free consultation is able to assist a domestic violence survivor not only in taking control of the situation that can be very scary and very confusing, but allows them some hope," she says. 

The clinic can answer questions about anything from orders of protection and divorces, to child custody. Most of the volunteer attorneys are located in Springfield and the Chicago area.

Navarro says, "Those areas are flushed with attorney services, and a lot of the areas in Illinois, it's pretty rural, right? Through the south and even the north--it's pretty rural; so this allows them to have access to somebody their abuser doesn't have access to.

SafePath Survivor Resources is part of Family Resources, and the agency served over 2,000 domestic violence survivors in the Quad Cities last year. Navarro hopes the new virtual legal clinic will help increase that number. 

The virtual legal clinic is part of a statewide service led by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon. The goal is to open clinics in 70 counties by next year. 

Renata Sago is WMFE's general assignment reporter and occasional Morning Edition anchor. She covers everything from major political campaigns and unemployment to civil rights legislation and the performing arts for WMFE and NPR.