Legal Advocacy Program

CONNECT’s Legal Advocacy Program consists of three innovative and unique initiatives; the Legal Advocacy Helpline, Coordinated Action Against Violence and Immigration Project.

Legal Advocacy Helpline

The Legal Advocacy Helpline provides immediate access to legal information and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence city-wide, and is the only service of its kind in New York City. Advocates provide callers with basic and in-depth information and advocacy concerning the police, district attorney, criminal and family court, probation and parole, and social services such as shelter, housing, public assistance, and immigration.

The Helpline staff works collaboratively with many other non-profit and city agencies to coordinate services, make referrals, and in some cases, locate direct legal representation for family court proceedings.

Legal Advocacy Helpline:
Monday – Friday
9:30 am – 5 pm

Coordinated Action Against Violence

The Coordinated Action Against Violence (CAAV) is a model early intervention program and collaboration with the 25th Police Precinct in East Harlem and the Crime Victim Treatment Center (CVTC) at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. CAAV provides support, advocacy and services to domestic violence victims and their children. Each program is staffed by highly trained legal advocates, interns and volunteers, and supervised by a staff attorney.

CAAV Advocates contact victims who have a Domestic Incident Report filed at the 25th Precinct to offer support, legal advocacy, crisis intervention and referrals for short-term and long-term counseling or other services as needed. Advocates assist in filing for reimbursement through the Crime Victim Board and provide specific information about safety planning, emergency shelter, housing transfers, and how to file for orders of protection. If needed, Advocates will work with CAAV clients to effectively assist in prosecution of the domestic violence perpetrator through direct contact with the District Attorney’s office.

Below is a video about the important U Visa for non citizen crime victims:

Immigration Project

The Immigration Project of CONNECT’s Legal Advocacy Program (LAP) provides immigrant victims of domestic violence with free, high-quality legal services for obtaining a formal immigration status, such as a visa or a green card, in the United States.

The goal of CONNECT’s Immigration Project is to empower all immigrant survivors of domestic violence through education and access to critical legal and social services, regardless of income. We recognize the value of engaging our clients in their own legal cases and practice client-centered lawyering, partnering with survivors to develop strategies for success. LAP also partners with NYC-based immigrant-rights organizations to connect issues faced by immigrant domestic violence survivors to broader issues faced by all immigrants in the U.S. We offer training and support to community-based organizations and aim to help our partners develop their own capacity to serve immigrant survivors of domestic violence.

LAP staff, volunteer attorneys, legal interns and advocates connect clients with immigration relief by preparing and filing the following applications:

• Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions;
• Battered spouse waivers;
VAWA Cancellations of removal;
• U nonimmigrant status; and
VAWA or U Visa-based Adjustment of Status

LAP also assists domestic violence survivors in pro se (self-represented) applications for Naturalization and in preparation for the required civics exam. LAP has conducted pro se Naturalization clinics and exam preparation courses combined with economic empowerment.