Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Family Violence Appellate Project

1,139 pageviews

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Abuse Prevention, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse Prevention, Spouse Abuse Prevention

Mission: FVAP is the only nonprofit organization in California dedicated to providing free appellate legal representation to domestic violence survivors who need to appeal and overturn dangerous trial court decisions that leave them or their children at risk of ongoing abuse. We simultaneously work to reshape California law by setting new legal precedent that prioritizes the safety and well-being of survivors and their kids. FVAP is empowering abuse survivors to get the safety and justice they deserve, holding the California courts system accountable, and making sure the law does what it's supposed to - keep families safe.

Results: The statewide average for successful appeals is 21%; at FVAP we win 77% of appeals we bring, and 100% of cases we defend on appeal. We partner with pro bono attorneys from California's top law firms and corporate legal teams to give our clients the best possible chance of winning their case so they can finally have the safety and justice they deserve. Furthermore, FVAP has been involved in the publication of 20 domestic violence cases that have reshaped California law and made our state safer. Our overall achievements in changing the legal landscape of California are immeasurable, and a moving reminder of how we can all band together to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable populations.

Target demographics: Survivors of domestic violence and their children

Direct beneficiaries per year: Trained 745 CA attorneys, judges, law students, and domestic violence advocates; represented 13 domestic violence survivors in appeals; published 9 cases to help reshape California law by setting new legal precedent that prioritizes the safety and well-being of survivors and their kids; provided technical assistance to 123 domestic violence attorneys and advocates representing survivors in trial court cases.

Geographic areas served: California

Programs: (1) providing free legal representation to domestic violence survivors in appeals cases when they need to overturn trial court decisions that leave them or their children at risk of ongoing abuse; (2) publishing important cases that set new, statewide legal precedent to make California safer for abuse survivors and children; (3) training family law attorneys and domestic violence advocates on important, timely domestic violence legal issues; (4) providing technical assistance to attorneys representing survivors in trial court cases involving domestic violence, as well as to survivors who are representing themselves ; and (5) training California law students to become the next generation of passionate, informed domestic violence legal advocates. We identify cases that are likely to result in the appellate courts rendering decisions that advance the interests of domestic violence victims throughout California. FVAP's experts work with pro bono attorneys from the private sector to provide the highest quality legal representation in briefing and arguing those cases to the appellate courts. In particular, we focus on cases in which survivors and their children are in danger of ongoing abuse.

Community Stories

58 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been continuously impressed with the Family Violence Appellate Project. The organization's commitment to helping domestic violence survivors and their children appeal dangerous trial court decisions is incredibly important, and the organization's leadership is dedicated and tenacious in carrying out that mission.

Zakia A.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Since its inception, FVAP has provided unique relief to survivors when they lost hope in the system. New Advocate, Attorneys and Judges have so much to learn from these Appellate cases. At our agency, we follow the learning and training regularly and inform partners whenever opportunity arises.

Thank you FVAP for the amazing work!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an attorney advocating for survivors of domestic abuse in both emergency and long-term family law matters. FVAP is critical to my practice. I am better prepared in court not only because of FVAP’s arsenal of powerful cases, but also because their attorneys and staff are there at the ready when I need them, offering advice and strategy when I ask for it, and always with the utmost professionalism and grace. Thank you, FVAP!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of serving on FVAP's Board, which has given me a front row seat to the tremendous impact the organization has on the lives of survivors of domestic violence. FVAP takes on cases that change the law in California to support survivors. But it does so much more. It is reaching into the most vulnerable corners of California to offer a path for change and hope to survivors who are otherwise marginalized. It helps them assert dignity, stay in their homes and protect their children. One of the things that touches me most is when our client become our donors. They are the testament to the value of our mission. When I hear the courage in their voices and see the resiliency of their lives, I am most grateful to be a small part of the life-changing organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with FVAP as an attorney on one of their cases. Not only was the experience incredibly rewarding, but it is also important work. The staff is incredible to work with and very dedicated. I wouldn't hesitate to work with them again, and would encourage others to do so.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been on the Board of FVAP for over a year now, and I continue to be blown away by the passion and the work put forward by everyone involved to further the rights of domestic violence survivors. I feel lucky to be a part of the organization.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP does outstanding legal work to support DV survivors and their families. FVAP advances the legal framework addressing domestic violence by appealing trial court decisions on behalf of survivors and their children. In that process, FVAP not only helps to create new law, but also helps to supports and protect countless individual survivors. I'm honored to work with this organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP is such an amazing organization. In its relatively short lifespan, it has already secured many important appellate decisions that have helped and will continue to help domestic violence survivors. In addition, its trainings, outreach, and education work is making a huge difference beyond the appellate sphere. I feel so honored to be on its Board and work with its amazing director, attorneys, staff, and volunteers.

Yena K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a summer law clerk during my second year of law school. Not only does FVAP does great, meaningful work, but everyone cares deeply about the clients and ensuring that everyone who has been a survivor can be benefitted by the work it does. Truly a wonderful experience!

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP is a really unique organization that focuses on the bigger picture of creating laws that can support and protect all survivors, rather than taking on individual cases with individual facts and issues. This is what draws in and interests people when I tell them about the organization.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP is doing very important and timely work and has a unique approach by focusing on obtaining appellate decisions that create precedent. FVAP also creates great pro bono opportunities for lawyers in private practice to play a major role in shaping the arguments and being able to really make a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Family Violence Appellate Project as a volunteer attorney and can wholeheartedly say it has been the best experience of my law career thus far. The entire staff, not just the attorneys, are singularly committed to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in our state and our country. They fight tirelessly on behalf of under-served populations to ensure that even the most marginalized in our communities have access to high-quality legal representation. FVAP engages in impact litigation and technical assistance to other attorneys, righting the missteps of the courts in ways that have far-reaching ripple effects on the law, but more importantly, on the lives of individuals. As a young attorney, the passion and mentorship I have found there have inspired me to make this kind of work a cornerstone of my practice. I can't thank them enough!

Alexis N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a law clerk at Family Violence Appellate Project, and am absolutely in love with this organization. The passion, dedication, and overall love for humanity that i have seen in my short time at this organization is unparalleled! I am so proud to be a member of this team and i would refer anyone here in a heartbeat!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I worked with FVAP as a lawyer and did several pro bono cases with them. Their staff was awesome and their cause is worthy. I believed in the organization and its people so much that I joined the board!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP is deeply committed to helping its clients and all survivors of domestic violence in California. The organization is constantly looking for new ways to deliver services and expand its offerings to assist as many clients as possible and make a lasting impact to improve the legal landscape for survivors of domestic violence facing family law, juvenile dependency and housing issues.

The organization is respectful of employees and volunteers. It offers a welcoming and supportive environment to those who wish to help the agency further its objectives.

Luke W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP does fantastic work representing domestic violence survivors on appeal, creating important favorable precedents in a space where the law has been underartuculated, in large part because domestic violence survivors often lack the financial means to pursue appellate relief when trial courts error. I very much appreciated the opportunity as a volunteer attorney to assist FVAP in the case screening process.

Caroline38

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served as a FVAP Board member since it's inception. I am in awe of this life-saving organization that our staff has built. Domestic violence is pernicious in part because it endangers people in the most intimate parts of their lives. Abusers often continue to abuse in Court. But FVAP gives survivors the strongest possible voice in California's appellate courts and is changing the law, not for our clients alone, but for survivors across California and for generations to come. Each survivor who secures a protective order or keeps custody of a child is lifted up and made powerful by this organization, especially because they know they are not alone. The outreach we now do to help our most vulnerable clients access housing and build safe, hopeful lives humbles and inspires me. I feel very honored to be a part of FVAP and a witness to our clients' amazing bravery.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am proud to volunteer with FVAP. The dedication and skill of the small but mighty staff is truly awe-inspiring. This is the only nonprofit of its kind in California dedicated to ensuring that wrongly-decided cases in a trial court do not leave domestic violence survivors without recourse and the protection they are entitled to under the law.

Aseem G.

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP does phenomenal work for domestic violence survivors and their families. The organization plays a huge role in advocating for strong protections for these survivors and their families in California. Their staff is excellent.

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP is a truly groundbreaking organization that works tirelessly to further the rights of domestic violence survivors and their children. The courtroom injustices survivors face at the trial level are often shocking yet widespread. FVAP is a pioneer in fighting such injustices at the appellate level, to not only change the lives of those individual survivors, but create legal precedent to enable thousands of survivors across the state to benefit from their work. The staff and leadership are absolutely committed to their unwavering goals, and put forth only the most quality legal work. Thank you, FVAP, for all you do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP is doing important work to make sure the CA law helps domestic violence survivors protect themselves and their children from harm

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP changes the lives of domestic violence survivors and their children and their work is unmatched by any other organization. I am honored to volunteer and be part of the work of this organization.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

It's an honor to volunteer for an organization that makes so many positive changes in the lives of domestic violence survivors.

Read more

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP successfully won an appeal to empower California courts to protect California victims of domestic violence and abuse (including online harassment) through restraining orders even when the abuser is out of state.

Nancy50

Board Member

Rating: 5

This agency opened its doors in summer 2012, and in 6 short years, has been responsible for 32 published appellate decisions in California, a remarkable achievement. Each of the decisions is citable and used by advocates, survivors of abuse, attorneys and judges, and helps end the epidemic of domestic violence. The cases deal with restraining orders, custody, spousal support, and immigration matters affecting survivors of domestic violence and their children. The agency also provides a great deal of free technical assistance on family law matters to attorneys, advocates, and self represented people all over California. It has become a major player in the legal services and domestic violence communities, and is a huge asset.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

After 4+ years of operation, FVAP continues to be a significant force in moving the law forward for survivors of domestic violence and their children in California. It has won and/or obtained publication of many key appellate decisions. Judges are calling FVAP to ask what they should cover when they train other judges about domestic violence in family law cases. People in other states are asking how they can create similar projects, and FVAP has agreed to help them. FVAP co counsels with pro bono attorneys to leverage its small staff and thus has never turned away a case due to lack of resources. It's a great non profit.

Read more

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is nothing short of impressive that FVAP is producing such results in winning appeals compared to the statewide standard. I also love the fact that so much of their efforts are put towards training and representation in order to help break the cycle and foster a new generation of awareness towards this serious issue. To top it off, they are also the only organization that provides free appellate legal representation to domestic violence survivors in the state.
Thank you FVAP for your work on this important issue!

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP is the only organization of its kind pursuing appellate impact litigation to benefit survivors and sufferers of domestic violence. The dedication of FVAP's staff and the commitment of its private sector partners are inspiring, and having had an opportunity to represent one of FVAP's clients, I can easily understand why--the impact is truly felt in the community. It is an honor to be involved with this important organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Staff and volunteers work together to provide legal services to those who cannot afford them. FVAP is very well run and effective.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization serves the victims of domestic violence on appeal, and there's no other organization that does it in California. Such an important function.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP is an amazing organization with a proven track record of success for its clients and family violence survivors throughout California. The results speak for themselves: the 77% success rate on affirmative appeals; the perfect record when defending decisions on appeal; and 20 published opinions and counting. Their brilliant staff and pro bono partners are reshaping California law for the better.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I chose to volunteer @ FVAP expecting to learn more about how Appellate courts work, I gained that knowledge plus much more. FVAP is an organization that is truly committed to advancing the interest of domestic violence survivors including the most vulnerable victims: children. The agency not only works with survivors directly but is invested in making legislative changes that decrease the likelihood for injustices at the trial court level and most importantly risk of continued abuse/harm to survivors. I was fortunate to be accepted as a volunteer and look forward to continued involvement with the agency in my future career developments.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP provides first-class legal services to DV survivors and their children. Its staff truly cares about the work and always try to make an impact on not only individuals but also the legal communities. The precedents they fought to set enable trial lawyers to defend DV survivors on more issues concerning their daily lives.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Family Violence Appellate Project offers such an incredible service not only to survivors of domestic violence, but all within our community. Through their incredible appellate work, they have brought real change to our community. Too often judges have a lack of understanding and knowledge regarding domestic violence and had limited direction from case law and the Legislature of how to handle these situations. Through their successful appeals, FVAP has been able to bring real change to how domestic violence cases are handled.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We are so lucky to have access to FVAP! Their dedicated staff of caring, compassionate and truly exceptional attorneys and advocates are like none other. I hope that they are able to continue their extremely important work for the community and the future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP is a unique and excellent non-profit doing superb work in helping a vulnerable population--DV survivors and their families--with much-needed appellate legal assistance.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fortunate to contribute as a volunteer to FVAP's wonderful work supporting DV survivors and their children.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Family Violence Appellate Project is an amazing organization that helps many! They support the local community and reach out to those in need! They help survivors get safety,support , and information that they need. Their last fundraiser was an amazing event at the El Rey Theater that raised a lot of money and support!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent a night volunteering to help FVAP. It was great experience, and one which I would do again. The best part of the experience (besides helping this cause) was the attitude of the organizers at FVAP. They acted like a team, not just an organization. They were positive, and took the initiative to lead volunteers and the group.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was so excited to be made aware of FVAP through my employer's volunteer network. We provide volunteer services for non-profits and I am very active in the volunteering space. I have participated in the FVAP Banding Together to End Domestic Violence event for 2 years now and plan to continue to do so. The organization goes above and beyond to reach those in need and provide much needed services that victims would otherwise be unable to afford which could gravely impact their situations and circumstances. I can only pray that FVAP can expand to help even more individuals who are victims of domestic violence here in Southern California and I am willing to help in anyway possible to realize that possibility. What a great movement to be a part of and the staff representing this amazing non-profit is an absolute joy to work with. Keep up the good work!!!

2 Lisa601

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP works tirelessly to help domestic violence victims obtain justice. They are extremely dedicated and work long hours to serve as many victims as is possible.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP is such an important organization, truly and tangibly affecting and saving the lives of domestic abuse survivors.

1 ErikB

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

FVAP is able to create real systemic benefits for families by appealing lower court decisions that abused parties would be unable to appeal on their own, winning, and getting the final decisions published. This is a very impactful charity helping people who both need and deserve it.

Previous Stories
6

Donor

Rating: 5

FVAP is one of the most effective and needed legal aid organizations I've supported. First, they address the gap in legal precedent for family law cases. This gap is primarily caused by a lack of resources for victims of family violence, which leads to bad decisions that can't be appealed for economic reasons. FVAP helps individuals get the outcomes they deserve while also getting these appellate decisions published, helping others in similar situations avoid needing a costly appeal.

I remember one of the early cases FVAP took on dealt with a judge who determined a father had physically abused his daughter, but that same judge ordered the daughter to go to reconciliation therapy with the abusive father against her will. These types of decisions need to be appealed, and FVAP is the only California organization I know of making sure that they are.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

FVAP is an amazing team of courageous people, who helped with my Appeal Case G049854 as an amicus curiae. They helped win our appeal to help us, as well as get our decision published to help others not go through what we have suffered .

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP has changed the face of domestic violence litigation in California, creating a library of cases to support survivors in protecting themselves and their children. The service FVAP provides is invaluable.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm not a lawyer (I don't even play one on TV) but I've read some of their cases and the resulting decisions, and it's clear that FVAP is doing a lot of good in protecting victims of domestic violence.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FVAP is an amazing organization that is changing the laws in California, ensuring that the state court judges follow the law to protect survivors and their children.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

FVAP serves a huge unmet need for numerous Californians and is addressing the larger systemic issues in our legal system that allow DV to persist. I have been so moved by their work and am extremely impressed by the impact they have made in their few years of existence. They play a critical role in the mission of ending family violence and supporting survivors of abuse.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization does incredible work! This appellate work is vital to ensure the safety of domestic violence survivors in California.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The work done by the fierce advocacy of FVAP is making a tremendous difference in the lives of family abuse survivors.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Family Violence Appellancy Project is action in response to critical need. The influence of its co-founder Nancy Lemon on domestic violence prevention laws throughout the world is legendary. Now, with this project, the Judiciary will benefit from guidance of appellate law. What could be simpler yet more pressing. This organization is one of a kind - a forerunner - a brilliant concentration of the best talent on the planet.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

When people hear about aid and support for victims of domestic violence, they usually think of hotlines, shelters, etc. While such support is vital and will always play an important role, most people are not aware that the work FVAP performs is far reaching and fundamental because it addresses part of the problem and solution ... the judiciary system.

4

Advisor

Rating: 5

The Family Violence Appellate Project is a critically important organization that provides a unique service to society: working through the appellate process to reform the law in a way that not only helps individual clients who are victims of domestic violence but also shapes the law prospectively for future cases. The attorneys and staff at FVAP are sophisticated, knowledgeable experts in this field who are committing their lives to an excellent cause.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with this fantastic organization. They provide a meaningful service to individual clients, build positive legal precedent for all victims of domestic violence in California, and fill a huge void in domestic violence advocacy. This organization should exist in every state.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an advocate working for clients at the trial court level. I have seen first hand how the work done by FVAP is changing the atmosphere and outcome of family violence cases in California.