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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.

Community Stories

51 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.