Domestic violence legal advocacy is a special service we provide, as families in our programs work toward lives free from abuse. By helping to educate families about their legal options after abuse, our advocates are able to help bring clarity to the challenging process.
At Stepping Stones, we focus on civil legal challenges including orders of protection, divorce, and other legal decision making (such as child custody) in a safe, confidential environment. The task of navigating the legal system is overwhelming, and these areas can be particularly challenging because families can feel alone going through the legal process.
A particularly hard part is simply working through the paperwork. With dozens of pages filled with unfamiliar language and detailing difficult personal information, it can feel overwhelming to complete. But that is exactly where Stepping Stones’ legal advocate, Kathy, and 10-year volunteer, Mark Kille, attorney at Mingus Mountain Law Group, come in; they support families working through civil legal issues as they break free from abuse. Kathy shared, “It can be discouraging to see how much it takes to get through. When broken down, the paperwork is simple. I am able to help them with that.”
Completing and filing paperwork is only one aspect of what Kathy and Mark provide. The real support comes through encouragement and empowerment. Mark and Kathy shared that families are learning to hope again and becoming empowered as they take baby steps forward. “One of the biggest things is that they feel listened to and believed,” Kathy shared, adding that for some, it is the first time they feel they are believed.
A special part of Kathy and Mark’s partnership also comes in the form of positive male interaction. Many women in Stepping Stones’ programs have few supportive males in their lives. Kathy shared that Mark is sometimes the first positive male figure they experience. “His demeanor and intention provides families with encouraging support.”
Seeing the growth of families from the time they first begin working with Kathy and Mark to completion is another awesome part. Many families begin very fearful of the process and the outcome. But with the support of our advocates, they are able to take one step at a time toward their goals to be free from violence and abuse.
Stepping Stones’ domestic violence advocacy services are available to anyone; you don’t have to live in shelter to receive services. If you need support in pursuing an order of protection or other issues related to a domestic violence situation, call our Helpline to speak with an advocate: 928.445.HOPE.