When we met Anne* last year, her boyfriend had sexually assaulted her in addition to abusing her physically, verbally, and emotionally. She had no one to turn to and nowhere to go. Worst of all, she had no idea that she could get help and that there were agencies, immigration remedies and shelters available for her to get help. Anne met one of KAFSC’s counselors at the Queens Family Justice Center and we immediately began crisis intervention, providing her with case management and counseling services, as well as, help her file police reports and navigate the immediate legal issues. As her situation stabilized, we referred her to one of our pro bono legal professionals who swiftly guided her through the immigration process. We are happy to say that Anne got fingerprinted last month and is now awaiting her work permit, which will lead her to more job opportunities and a world of possibilities.
Within KAFSC’s philosophy of a 360 degree client-based holistic approach, our ability to provide legal remedies is critical. Most of our clients are immigrants living at or below the poverty level, and many of them are living without legal status. All are in need of KAFSC’s legal advocacy services, and for some, immigration remedies are urgently needed. Immigration status is often used as a tool of abuse and manipulation and women without legal status are more at risk of being abused than women with status.
Attorney Andrew Park, one of KAFSC’s pro bono legal professionals, has been providing immigration legal assistance on a pro-bono basis to our clients for about a year and was a key advocate in navigating Anne’s visa application under the immigration provision of the Violence Against Women Act, where victims of domestic violence can apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship without a sponsor, or in the case of Anne, an abusive partner. The process isn’t an easy one as it takes six months to a year. However, legal services and providers play a critical role in our fight against domestic violence. We sincerely thank Attorney Park and all our pro bono legal professionals for their dedication and support to the Center and our clients.
Providing these services allows KAFSC to offer our community what we believe to be complete care that is effective and of high quality to those that need it the most. We are always in need of pro-bono legal assistance and collaborative partnerships, like that of which we have with Attorney Park.
For more information on how you can support our services, contact our Director of Programs, Jeehae Lee, at email@example.com.
*The victim’s name has been changed in order to protect her identity.