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Family Violence Appellate Project

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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.

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