DV LEAP Newsletter

From DV LEAP Newsletter December 1, 2012:

Dear friends,

DV LEAP now receives even more pleas for help from protective parents struggling in family court to keep their children safe from abusive fathers. In large part, this dramatic increase in requests for assistance is a result of wide publicity about our significant federal grant to fund both trainings and technical assistance (consulting) on custody and abuse litigation, as well as our new contracts with 6 attorney and psychologist experts in that field.

While the federal grant provides seed funding for approximately 2 hours of consulting for about 100 parents, we already know that far more (e.g., 10-20 hours) time is needed for most cases. Because these cases are complicated, and often involve unrepresented litigants facing major law firms on the other side, devotion of significant hours (but still far less than would be required for full representation) can be critical. In one recent case, the consultant’s many hours (mostly unfunded) spent reading documents from the case, assessing the litigation, and explaining strategy and approach to the mother actually helped turn the case around for the protective parent when she returned to court (still unrepresented).

Many protective parents helped by DV LEAP consulting say that this help made a huge difference to them. Our consultants have superb know-how and experience with these cases, and are able to provide unique insight into the claims frequently made by abusers seeking custody, as well as the challenges of combating faulty custody evaluations. In fact, several of our consultants have helped turn around cases that were headed in the wrong direction.

To help keep mothers and children safe, we want to provide sufficient consultation with time for protective parents.

Please make your gift to DV LEAP today so that we can ensure that every one can receive the skilled advice that will lead to safe outcomes.


Veteran attorneys join DV LEAP staff

Please join us in welcoming two new attorneys to DV LEAP. Nirupa Narayan and Michael Bassett are each working part-time with DV LEAP to replace our dear colleague, Elizabeth Liu who worked with DV LEAP for 4 ½ years. Both Ms. Narayan and Mr. Bassett come to DV LEAP with significant experience and we are excited about our ability to expand our reach and assist more survivors through their efforts.

Ms. Narayan was the Managing Immigration Attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center where she managed the organization’s immigration and pro bono programs and represented immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. She previously worked at Boat People SOS providing immigration and family law representation to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Prior to joining Boat People SOS, Ms. Narayan was a staff attorney with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s family law division and AIDS Legal Project. Ms. Narayan has provided training and technical assistance to domestic violence and immigration service providers, pro bono attorneys, courts, law enforcement agents and community groups. She currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors of the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project. Ms. Narayan holds an LL.M. degree from American University, Washington College of Law and a J.D. degree from New York Law School. At DV LEAP, as Senior Staff Attorney Nirupa will be focusing on our DC projects, including outreach, partnering with pro bono lawyers on DC appeals, and local trainings.

Mr. Bassett comes to DV LEAP from the private practice of law in Ohio, in which he has focused on advocating for survivors of domestic abuse in complex custody (and other types) of litigation. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Bassett worked for the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office in Port Clinton, Ohio, where he worked on the creation of the office’s victim’s advocacy program, as well as designing the county’s first domestic violence protocol. Mr. Bassett has served on the Port Clinton Board of Education and the Board of Directors of Ottawa County Transitional Housing. Mr. Bassett received his BA from American University in 2002, and his JD from the University of Toledo in 2005. His focus at DV LEAP will be on consulting on and litigating custody and abuse appeals, and we are confident that his strong record of success in these cases will help survivors and their children around the country.

Joan Meier
Executive Director

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