In response to reduced court functions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legal Aid Society of Rochester launched a domestic violence legal services helpline.
From April 2019 to March 2020, LASROC provided legal assistance and support in more than 1,400 domestic violence cases. Many of those clients initially connected with a LASROC attorney in Family Court; however, access to the courthouse was altered during the pandemic and the application process for orders of protection changed. Many victims found themselves without access to an attorney.
LASROC launched the helpline in an effort to remedy this situation. Anyone seeking an order of protection can call (585) 204-0199 to speak to a family law attorney.
“We’ve seen the positive impact of physical distancing and staying home in helping to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, yet for those experiencing domestic violence, home may not be a safe space,” said Kristen Porpora, director of the LASROC Family Law Unit.
Attorneys are available via call or text from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays. Counsel covers getting an order of protection, what to do if abusers violate an existing order, and emergencies regarding custody or visitation of children or child support.
“With everything going on right now, we want those who may be experiencing domestic violence to know that the Legal Aid Society of Rochester is here to help you with your Family Court matters,” Porpora said.
LASROC also assists with legal matters including immigration, landlord lockouts, foreclosure prevention and education. Those in need of legal assistance with matters other than domestic violence can call (585) 232-4090 for further inquiries or to apply for service.