Incarcerated Survivors

Survivors of gender-based violence who are currently or formerly incarcerated face unique challenges when it comes to the civil legal system. The criminal legal system often targets survivors and perpetuates the harm they have already experienced, resulting in additional harm to their children and families.

We provide advice, brief services, and representation in many areas for survivors who are impacted by their criminal legal system, as well as providing limited services to their family members. While the Incarcerated Survivors Project provides support in many legal areas, the majority of assistance focuses on these areas:

  • Parenting Time/Visitation: Survivors who are incarcerated are often denied crucial bonds with their children, which harms the whole family.
  • Divorce: Survivors who are incarcerated often face barriers to completing dissolutions of marriage while incarcerated, even though divorces may be necessary to leave an abusive spouse or fight a child welfare case.
  • Guardianship: Parents who are incarcerated may need assistance in securing safe placements or proper paperwork for others to temporarily care for their children. In addition to assisting parents with short-term and court-ordered guardianships, the Incarcerated Survivors Program provides advice on discharging guardianships and occasionally assists family members who are seeking guardianships but encounter hurdles due to criminal records.
  • Child Welfare Cases: Survivors who are incarcerated may need advice for how to navigate a child welfare case, particularly when their past abuse or incarceration is used against them.
  • Orders of Protection: Survivors who are currently or formerly incarcerated may face hurdles when seeking an order of protection or creating a safety plan, though abuse may occur even while someone is incarcerated.

Other areas of assistance for incarcerated survivors of gender-based violence include advice for immigration, records clarification, sibling visitation, warrants, and the rights of pregnant people while incarcerated.

Launched in March 2021, our work with incarcerated survivors of gender-based violence continues to grow.

Learn about this important division of Ascend Justice and hear how Ascend Justice is advocating for their rights and providing the resources and assistance they need.

get help now


if you are in immediate danger


24/7 Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline


(877) 863-6338

Orders of Protection

Ascend Justice Remote OP Hotline:
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm