Each year, Marion Superior Courts adjudicate thousands of new protection order filings, approximately 50 percent of which are dismissed or denied due to insufficient information. Through a grant awarded by the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, a new project will help petitioners better understand the process and requirements, with the goal of improving the protection order process and helping victims avoid future re-victimization.
The Center for Victim and Human Rights (CVHR) has been named the 2019 recipient of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation’s Impact Fund grant of $35,000. CVHR will use the funding to create the Pro Bono Attorney Project (PBAP) for Marion County-area attorneys to provide limited-scope advice and counsel to pro se victims filing a petition for a protective order.
This project seeks to reduce the number of petitions by pro se victims that are dismissed due to confusion and fear of the process and to reduce the number of protective order denials due to incomplete or insufficient petitions. Through the project, victims of domestic/family violence, sex offenses and/or stalking will be provided with both a better understanding of the connection between narratives and available remedies under the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act and guidance to understand their burdens of proof so they better connect narratives to the legal obligations in filing a petition.
Indianapolis Bar Association members will play an integral part of this project as pro bono volunteers. Outreach for pro bono attorneys will begin in early 2020, with training following shortly thereafter. It is anticipated that volunteers will begin working with pro se litigants by early fall 2020.
About the Indianapolis Bar Foundation & the Impact Fund
The Impact Fund began in 2011 as a vehicle to maximize the financial generosity of Indianapolis Bar Foundation donors and to provide members of the Indianapolis Bar Association with compelling opportunities to donate their time through pro bono service. Since its inception, $330,000 has been awarded through the fund to organizations like Kids' Voice of Indiana, Indy Reads, Peace Learning Center, the Joseph Maley Foundation, Indiana Legal Services Inc., Reach for Youth, and the Health and Human Rights Clinic at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in an effort to provide a significant positive impact in central Indiana through the promotion of access to justice for indigent persons.
The Impact Fund is an important tool in the foundation’s efforts to fulfill its mission: to advance justice and lead positive change in Indianapolis through philanthropy, education and service. In addition to the Impact Fund, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation grants $105,000 each year to a variety of community service programs co-sponsored with the Indianapolis Bar Association.
About the Center for Victim and Human Rights
The Center for Victim and Human Rights (CVHR) was established in 2008 with the specific purpose of providing comprehensive legal representation to victims of crime and human rights abuses, who often lack the safety and resources necessary to access available legal remedies.
Much of the work of the CVHR occurs where the criminal justice process ends, re-establishing balance in the lives of the victims served. Balance is created by giving back what was lost to the victim while ensuring that the justice process, be it criminal, immigration, and/or civil, comports with the best traditions of law: openness, fairness, due process, and equality for all.