March 2021 News

March 2021

Dear Friends,

As we head into the season of renewal (and locally, the season of mud and springtime snowstorms!) I am excited at the sense of possibility that pervades Ascend Justice at this moment. The past year has tested all of us. We’ve uncovered weaknesses and inequities, especially in the systems in which we work. We’ve also witnessed incredible resilience and strength and we’ve cultivated ingenuity and defiant optimism. In the coming weeks, we will be able to announce an example of that defiant optimism — an important new way that we are able to serve survivors of gender-based violence.

For now, I’m proud to share some ways that Ascend Justice has been educating the community – and how we’ll be celebrating in just a few short months.


Margaret R. Duval
Executive Director
Ascend Justice

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

Danielle Parisi Ruffatto, Ascend Justice’s Director of Emergency Services, spoke with ABC-7 Chicago this month about the increase in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also discussed our Remote Order of Protection Hotline and how it works with survivors to access our services and makes getting an Order of Protection more accessible.

To watch the full video, please click here.

Celebration of Courage 2021

The Celebration of Courage 2021 will be presented as a live, virtual fundraising event on Thursday, June 10th at 6 pm CST. The Celebration of Courage is our annual spring fundraiser where we pay tribute to the over 1,000 survivors and families whose lives have been touched by Ascend Justice this year and to the loyal supporters like you who have made that work possible.
Interested in becoming a Celebration of Courage 2021 sponsor? Sponsorships start at $1,000 and include a variety of benefits. For more information, please email Fawn O’Brien at

Remote Order of Protection Clinic helps its 400th survivor!

We launched our Remote Order of Protection Hotline in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help survivors access the courts. Last month, we celebrated our Remote OP Hotline helping its 400th survivor to keep them and their families safe, without ever needing to come into the court.

This accomplishment wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated volunteers and interns who work with our Emergency Services Staff Attorneys to prepare the Petition for the Order of Protection over the phone, file the paperwork with the court, and attend the Zoom hearing with these clients or the funders who continue to support this life-saving work.

Club Pilates Class Fundraiser

Join the Ascend Justice Young Professionals Board on Saturday, March 20th from 10 to 11 am virtually for a 50-minute Mat Pilates Class hosted by Club Pilates – West Loop! Mat Pilates is a core-focused low-impact strength training exercise that will simultaneously strengthen and lengthen your muscles using one’s own body weight. The Mat Pilates class is great for all fitness levels as modifications and progressions will be provided throughout the class.
The cost of the class is $15 and 100% of proceeds will go to supporting Ascend Justice’s mission of empowering individuals and families impacted by gender-based violence or the child welfare system. Please click here for more information and to register.