CFJ’s Pro Bono Legal Center gives domestic violence victims a voice

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Kathryn Maiolo, chairwoman of CFJ's board of directors, speaks at The Center for Family Justice's annual Domestic Violence Awareness Vigil at Monroe Congregational Church in 2019.

BRIDGEPORT — The Center for Family Justice will participate in the 8th annual Fairfield County’s Giving Day on Feb. 25, with its proceeds from the regional day of philanthropy designated for an innovative program offering its domestic violence clients free legal services.

This year, CFJ’s Fairfield County Giving Day appeal will support its Pro Bono Legal Center, which launched in September of 2019. The program allows CFJ to offer the free services of two staff attorneys to clients dealing with legal issues related to their domestic abuse.

“We’re so excited to be part of Fairfield County’s Giving Day this year to shine a spotlight on this incredibly impactful program which has been a game changer for so many of our domestic violence clients in urgent need of free legal services,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice.

“By supporting us on Fairfield County’s Giving Day, donors can directly help our clients access the legal counsel they need as they seek justice and protection from their abusers in our criminal and civil courts,” she aded.

Greenwood noted securing legal representation can be daunting for many domestic violence survivors who often lack financial resources to retain private counsel because of their income.

“Not having an attorney can mean victims are silenced by the system and have no choice but to represent themselves in court,” Greenwood explained. “For a survivor who has been abused and violated and is already vulnerable, taking on their abuser alone in court for matters involving restraining orders, divorces or child custody can be profoundly intimidating and traumatizing.”

Powered by the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Fairfield County’s Giving Day is supported by Champion Sponsor, Bank of America. The annual day of giving is devoted to harnessing the collective giving power of local individuals, businesses and corporations and has helped raised millions of dollars for hundreds of local nonprofits since its inception.

CFJ launched its Pro Bono Legal Center in 2019 with the support of a major competitive grant from Impact Fairfield, a Fairfield County-based women’s philanthropic giving circle,

Since its inception last year, its staff attorneys have been able to provide 117 clients with 1037 hours of free legal services worth more than $385,000.

To support CFJ and its Pro Bono Legal Center on Fairfield County’s Giving Day donors can give directly through the FCGD portal during a 24 hour period beginning at 12 a.m. on Feb. 25 and continuing up until 11:59 p.m. Donors can visit: www.fcgives.org/organizations/the-center-for-family-justice to make their contributions.

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