Helena- The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) recently received a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women for the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant program. MLSA will receive $400,000 over three years to fund the Survivors Legal Project to provide civil legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.
The target communities to be served under this grant are located in the North, Northeast and Central region of Montana, covering 17 rural counties in Montana, including Blaine, Liberty, Phillips, Chouteau, Glacier, Pondera, Hill, Toole, Meagher, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, Lewis & Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson, and Cascade Counties, and the Fort Belknap, Rocky Boy’s, Blackfeet, and Fort Peck Indian Reservations, chosen because of high poverty rates and the lack of civil legal services available to survivors without this funding.
The Survivor’s Legal Project partners with many local domestic violence service providers, and the collaboration for this Legal Assistance for Victims grant consist of the following organizations: the District 4 Human Resources Development Council Domestic Abuse Program in Havre; the YWCA Mercy Home of Great Falls; the Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project – Rocky Boy’s Reservation; the Fort Belknap Social Services Department – Fort Belknap Reservation; Blackfeet Domestic Violence Program, Blackfeet Reservation; the Red Bird Woman Center – Fort Peck Reservation; the Women’s Resource Center of Glasgow; and the Friendship Center of Helena.
One landmark study has concluded that the single most important factor in determining whether a woman escapes domestic abuse is her access to civil legal services. The grant will provide funding for statewide civil legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence, so survivors can break free of violence.
The Survivors Legal Project is just one way that MLSA provides equal justice to all Montanans. Civil legal aid from MLSA assures fairness for all in the justice system, regardless of how much money a person has, and helps Montanans protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families.