CCADV Pro Bono Restraining Order Project Reaches Half Million Dollars of Donated Legal Services to Victims

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Today the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) announced that its Pro Bono Restraining Order (PBRO) Project has provided more than $500,000 in free legal services to applicants of family violence restraining orders since its relaunch in January 2021. Over 100 volunteer attorneys have served nearly 200 victims providing more than 1,500 hours of service including representation, technical assistance, project development, and training.

“The pro bono project is all about being a voice for survivors when they need it most,” said Meghan Scanlon, CCADV President & CEO. “Seeking court-ordered protections can be intimidating and complex, particularly when a victim is experiencing the immediate aftermath of trauma. Because this is one of the most dangerous times for them, providing legal representation at the restraining order hearing is an important step in enhancing their safety.”

Said one victim (anonymous for safety) who participated in the project, “I know I wouldn’t be able to speak to the judge because I was so scared. I am glad the attorney was with me and helped me get the order. I felt I had a voice.”

The PBRO Project is rooted in a collaborative network of law firms across Connecticut that provide quality legal representation and CCADV’s member organizations that provide dedicated victim advocacy in their local court. Together their efforts have resulted in 73% of program applicants being granted full restraining orders following the issuance of an ex parte restraining order and 57% of program applicants being granted a full restraining order even though they had not initially been granted an ex parte restraining order. Fourteen percent (14%) of applicants referred to the program, after consulting with an attorney available for representation, determined that pursuit of the restraining order was not in their best interest at the time.

“The success of this project would not be possible without the generous commitment of our volunteer attorneys and the tireless support of victim advocates across the state,” said Rhonda Morra, J.D., CCADV Director of Legal Advocacy. “Their dedication has helped to fill the gap in coverage for victims seeking a restraining order who cannot safely afford the expense of an attorney or meet the threshold to qualify for legal aid.”

Said project volunteer, Attorney Dan Brody, “Pro bono legal representation provides essential services to some of the most vulnerable members of society. The PBRO project helps survivors find protection and support when their family environment, that should be supportive and safe, turns dangerous and overwhelmingly distressing. Being able to take on some of that burden from a survivor, assist them with the legal system, find the best form of protection, and most importantly, be that person who is completely on their side and looking out for their best interest while their world is in disarray, is an honor for me.”

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