Since 2000, the Campaign for Legal Services has brought together New Hampshire’s business, legal and philanthropic communities to prevent homelessness, poverty and abuse in New Hampshire by increasing access to justice for people in need.
Guided by a Steering Committee of the members of the Boards of Directors of 603 Legal Aid and the Campaign Leadership Council, the Campaign promotes awareness of civil legal aid’s impact on New Hampshire’s society and economy. Through corporate sponsorship of events and individual solicitations of support, the Campaign generates private funding so 603 Legal Aid and NHLA advocates can spend their time protecting the rights of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
These two organizations provide civil, noncriminal legal aid for people who have no where else to turn when navigating the legal system. Civil legal aid makes a difference in the lives of real people in real emergencies, such as:
- the single mother, who needs to receive child support in order to feed her children
- the veteran, who will lose his home if he doesn’t receive his disability check
- the child with learning differences, who deserves access to an education.
Especially important work is done under the umbrella of the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP), started in 1999 as a collaboration between the programs. In more than 90 percent of abusive relationships, abusers control or exploit their victims’ finances; often victims aren’t allowed to work outside the home, or aren’t allowed access to household funds. When they make the brave decision to leave, they have limited or no resources to start their lives over again – no money for rent, groceries, utilities — or to hire a lawyer.
DVAP advocates provide crucial – free – legal help from the moment a victim takes the first step to leave, by helping with applications for protective orders. When victims file for protective orders on their own, they are successful about 30% of the time. With access to legal advice, almost 80% of applications are granted. This first step builds the confidence of survivors, and helps them start their new lives in safety.
DVAP is there for victims as their voice in divorce cases, ensuring fair access to marital assets. DVAP helps victims obtain co-parenting plans that respect the complicated and dangerous dynamics of abusive relationships. And DVAP helps victims access the programs and resources that will help them secure housing, groceries and other basic living needs when they are starting over.
Originally allocated as part of the War on Poverty, public funding for civil legal aid is at an all-time low, making private efforts like the Campaign more important than ever.
Donations to the Campaign are tax-deductible and create tangible benefits for low-income families and New Hampshire’s elderly residents. Join us today, and help fulfill the promise of justice for all.