Survivors of domestic violence often lack the resources to secure legal representation in either or both civil and criminal courts. And navigating the civil and criminal justice systems can be overwhelming for survivors. What's more, offenders in criminal domestic violence cases are entitled to attorney representation while their victims are not. To address the shortcomings of systems that do not adequately address the needs of survivors, organizations like the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project have stepped up to offer no-cost legal assistance that provides a holistic approach to representation. In doing so, survivors receive more than just attorney representation, they also receive advocacy, referrals to domestic violence services and help with child custody matters. We talk with attorney Jenny Brody for an understanding of what survivors need in these cases and how they can access appropriate resources. Ms. Brody also explains the importance of domestic violence training for law enforcement, attorneys and judges and how that training can improve outcomes for survivors.
Jenny Brody has practiced family law in Washington, DC for more than ten years. As the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, from 2008 to 2016, Ms. Brody provided legal assistance to hundreds of domestic violence survivors in Civil Protection Order cases, as well as in divorce, custody and child support matters. As a member of the DC Superior Court Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect Panel, Ms. Brody represented children as a court-appointed Guardian ad litem and also represented adoptive parents in adoption petitions. Ms. Brody has devoted substantial time to improving the court system, as a participant in the DC Superior Court Domestic Relations and Domestic Violence Implementation Committees. She also played a role in promulgating Guardian ad litem Practice Standards, through the Council for Court Excellence and in DC Superior Court. Ms. Brody is a recognized expert in domestic violence and family law issues, presenting numerous training programs in these areas for lawyers, judges, social workers, medical professionals and domestic violence advocates. Prior to practicing family law, Ms. Brody worked in private practice, at Rogovin, Huge & Schiller and at Powers, Pyles & Sutter. She also served as an attorney at the United States Department of Justice, Civil Appellate Staff. She clerked for the Hon. Irving L. Goldberg, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.