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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Verizon Foundation and Volunteer Legal Services Program Work Together to Assist Domestic Violence Victims


The Verizon Foundation and BASF’s Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) are partnering together to create greater access to justice for low-income women who are survivors of domestic violence (DV). A recent $15,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation will fuel VLSP’s holistic services to survivors, which include
a mix of staff- and volunteer-driven legal representation, advice, and assistance, as well as connections to social services resources.

Verizon Foundation

“With public funding for DV services constantly on the chopping block, the Verizon Foundation’s grant could not be more timely,” said Mairi McKeever, VLSP’s Director/Managing Attorney.

VLSP serves more than 200 DV survivors annually, bridging the gap between the judicial and social services systems to help clients obtain dissolutions, child custody, child support, income supports, access to housing, and more.

“These services are a vital component to keeping our clients safe and bringing stability to their lives,” said Nick Baran, VLSP’s Supervising Attorney, Family Law. “A DV survivor with an attorney has expert help navigating the judicial system. She can also remove herself from direct communication with her abuser, which is such a significant step in breaking the cycle of violence.”

Typically, about 40% of VLSP’s DV clients have survived sexual assault, 30% have some type of disability, 80% are women of color, 50% speak English as a second language, and nearly 70% are mothers with children.

“Women who are experiencing domestic violence need a broad spectrum of services and resources in order to achieve safety and stability,” said Michael Murray, Verizon’s Director, Government & External Affairs. “VLSP is meeting such an urgent need in the community, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them to bring crucial services to survivors in San Francisco.”

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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