Our mission is to empower individuals and families impacted by gender-based violence or the child welfare system to achieve safety and stability through holistic legal advocacy and system reform.
We are working toward strong communities where people have the power to navigate fair systems and overcome violence.
Learn more by reading the stories of some of the individuals and families we have helped.
Our services are unique and holistic, and many clients are served by a team of attorneys and other professionals who help address the range of legal needs they are facing. Many of our clients also benefit from being able to work with a client support coordinator, who can provide additional emotional support and help with logistics for individuals or families who are going through a particularly challenging time.
We do not provide the following at this time:
Founded in 1982 and incorporated in 1989 as Pro Bono Advocates, Ascend Justice has four decades of experience meeting the needs of survivors of domestic violence. From 2005 until 2019 we were known as the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. In 2019 we merged with the Family Defense Center and rebranded as Ascend Justice. Throughout our history, we’ve worked to increase the safety and independence of survivors of domestic violence with skilled, compassionate legal representation.
Our Order of Protection Clinic and our domestic relations practices are our longest-standing client services. Our long-time location in the Cook County Circuit Court Domestic Violence Courthouse allows us to offer emergency legal services related to Orders of Protection and teams of volunteers work with staff attorneys to assist these clients with brief services, legal advice, and, in some cases, legal representation at the emergency stage of litigation.
Our second office on State Street, offers longer-term legal representation and assistance in the family law, immigration, economic justice, and family defense matters that are linked to the long-term safety of survivors and their children. In addition, Client Support Coordinators in both offices help with safety planning, emotional support, and connections to the resources necessary for safety and independence.
In March 2021, Ascend Justice launched an innovative new practice serving incarcerated survivors of domestic violence. Two attorneys collaborate with the Illinois Department of Corrections and Cook County Jail to provide civil legal services to survivors in women’s correctional facilities.
Our Strategic Plan, launched in January 2024, works as our guide for the coming years as we continue working towards our mission.
Sign up today to receive the latest updates on news, events, and stories.
if you are in immediate danger
24/7 Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline
Orders of Protection
Ascend Justice Remote OP Hotline:
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm