October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Did you know Domestic Violence happens right here, in Highland Park and Highwood?

 Domestic violence is the single leading cause of injury and death for women of all socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. It happens to all kinds of people. There is no “typical” victim of abuse.

According to the FBI, violence against women is the most common and least reported of all crimes. In fact, the FBI estimates that domestic violence is under reported by 10-1.

To appreciate the challenges that face a terrorized partner, take a walk in their shoes. Imagine:

  • Being held prisoner in your own home (perpetrators often brainwash their victims).
  • Being unable to afford justice (controlling the finances helps trap the abused).
  • Having no support system (alienation is a critical piece of control for the offender).
  • Fearing for their children’s well being or their pet’s safety.
  • Having nowhere else to go (making the victim feel helpless, alone or having no option but to stay).
  • Being “embarrassed” that you are a victim (shame in being a victim when the blame is on the abuser for terrorizing and abusing their partner).

If you or someone you know is planning to leave your abusive partner, you will need help to formulate a safety plan, which may include things like:

  • Opening a bank account in your own name (nothing mailed to your home).
  • Leaving money, extra keys, copies of important documents (passport, license, birth certificates, insurance cards, medication refills, checks, etc.) with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
  • Obtaining a cell phone with extra chargers.
  • Notifying friends and neighbors of what to do if they see the offender.

The Highland Park Highwood Legal Aid Clinic, conveniently located in Downtown Highland Park, is ready to help and staffed with a Domestic Violence attorney and advocates that can confidentially advise you or a friend/family member in time of critical need. The Clinic works in conjunction with social service agencies and public safety officials that can help provide safety and resources for children, and even pets who need to be cared for during this difficult time.

If you or anyone else you know, needs help, or even needs a question answered, please call our office at (847)926-1867. Calls are private and confidential.

Our Mission

The mission of the Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic is to provide pro bono legal services to low-income* individuals who live or work in Highland Park and Highwood in the areas of immigration, housing, and domestic violence.

*There are no income requirements for victims of domestic violence.

A Message from Mayor Nancy Rotering

We are fortunate to live in a community that celebrates diversity and steps up to help its neighbors. The Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic was founded on these principles.

In 2013, I created the City of Highland Park Human Services Task Force, a group of over 250 volunteers ranging in age from 17-85. We assessed needs and inventoried services available. A comprehensive human services plan was created and immediate outcomes led to creatively addressing various service issues, including access to affordable legal services, particularly for our senior and immigrant populations.

A Board of Directors was formed, sponsors and partners created a strong foundation and a mission was developed: focus strictly on the most emergent issues of housing, immigration and domestic violence cases, as these areas present an immediate risk to health and welfare. In addition, the Clinic does not pursue Federal funding, allowing all clients, regardless of immigration status, to be served. This significantly distinguishes the Clinic from other regional legal aid clinics.

We are proud to partner with the City of Highland Park, the City of Highwood, Open Communities, HACES, A Safe Place and Shalva. With their help and more than 100 volunteer attorneys and other community volunteers,  the Highland Park – Highwood Legal Aid Clinic provides comprehensive services and referrals to clients. Working with our local school districts, clergy and  Moraine Township, outreach to those in need and volunteers who wish to serve is broad and coordinated.

The Clinic serves as a beacon to our most vulnerable neighbors.  The need for critical legal services continues to grow. We pledge to provide outstanding legal services. We are grateful for the strong support we have received in the past and as we head into the future.

Mayor Nancy Rodkin Rotering

Founder and Honorary Chair

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