One of the inherent challenges of combatting gender-based violence is the reality that for the most part, it occurs behind closed doors. The paradox of the pandemic has been that the measures that can keep us healthy – staying at home and shuttering public spaces — also contribute to increased prevalence and severity of violence within families.
I thought of that paradox last week. An Ascend Justice client had seen the news that Governor Pritzker signed the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Bill into law, and she texted Staff Attorney Rachel Migliore to say, “Just heard the bill passed for DV victims. Ascend Justice was mentioned. It’s women like you that allowed the door to be open for this to happen.”
At the time Rachel received this text, our Order of Protection team at the Cook County Domestic Courthouse was serving clients in person for the first time since March 13, 2020. Over the past 17 months, we’ve served hundreds of clients through our Remote Order of Protection hotline, but we are grateful for the opportunity to return to work with survivors who prefer or need to seek help in person. Not only does it align with our commitment to client-centered service, we know that our onsite presence will increase transparency and accountability in the court system as well.
While the pandemic may create new challenges to keeping our offices open, Ascend Justice will continue opening new doors – to access to justice, economic opportunity, and healing – for survivors. I hope that you will support our efforts with a contribution today. And when it’s safe to do so, I hope you’ll pay us a visit – our doors will be open!
To read our August newsletter in its entirety, please click here.