Today the Office on Violence Against Women announced funding for collaboration between SHNWC and CILS to support comprehensive legal services through direct representation and advocacy for Native American victims in order to enhance victim safety and autonomy. The $500,000, 3 years grant will be used to provide holistic, culturally appropriate advocacy and legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking by addressing noticeable service gaps.

“This program will provide victims with a safety plan, crisis intervention assistance, a danger assessment, and restraining order assistance to meet their emergency and immediate needs,” said Dorothy Alther, Executive Director of CILS. “Most victims have access to legal services that are limited to obtaining a temporary restraining order. As appropriately named, these orders are “temporary.” Victims need much more than a temporary order of protection. The goal of our program is to provide the victim with permanent protection and long term legal relief in areas of divorce, child custody, visitation, division of community property if appropriate, division of debt, and child and spousal support.“

“We are thrilled to extend our services to include culturally appropriate legal services and providing the holistic legal services victims need to combat violence,” said Germaine Omish-Lucero, Executive Director of Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition. “We provide many other culturally sensitive services to victims, including emergency shelter placement, crisis intervention, advocacy, court accompaniment, support groups, healing circles, teen groups, and community prevention and education.”

Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition, Inc. was founded in 2005 to heighten awareness against Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Youth Violence, and Stalking in North County of the San Diego County.

CILS is the largest non-profit Indian law firm in California with four offices statewide and has been in operation for 45 years. CILS represents California Tribes, tribal organizations, and low-income individuals on matters of Indian law.

The purpose of the collaboration is to provide legal solutions to women and their families, who have fled violence in the home.

Further information:

Germaine Omish-Lucero,

Executive Director

Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition, Inc.

T: (760) 644-4781

Dorothy Alther

Executive Director California Indian Legal Services

T: (760) 746-8941, Ext. 122

.pdf version of this News Release is available.