FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Springdale, Ark., Sept. 5, 2018 – Legal Aid of Arkansas is now providing free, comprehensive representation to survivors of campus-based sexual assault. This new program is supported by a subaward from Equal Justice Works as part of an original award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime.
Student survivors have unique legal needs and face complicated choices that implicate a multitude of interwoven systems. They may have concerns relating to their privacy, safety, school, employment, living arrangements, and more. Additionally, each survivor may have a different response to what they experienced and what legal action they wish to take (if any).
Legal Aid of Arkansas recognized a vast need for legal services for victims of such violence or harassment in our state. The two largest universities in Arkansas, both in Legal Aid’s service area, have a combined student body of more than 41,000—21,000 of which are women. Unlike many urban areas, Arkansas does not have a robust network of nonprofit legal centers. There are currently no organizations with a focus on providing legal representation to survivors of sexual assault, let alone one focusing on campus sexual assault. As a result, student survivors face real barriers to obtaining lawyers who can help and advise them during a difficult and traumatic time.
To help address this need, Legal Aid of Arkansas will represent campus sexual assault victims in our service area, regardless of their income. Our services will be comprehensive and victim-centered, from general advice and referrals to community partners to more specific legal action and full representation.
For instance, our attorneys will be able to help survivors with non-criminal legal issues such as: navigating on-campus disciplinary procedures; seeking on-campus accommodations; writing victim statements and preparing testimony; filing for civil protective orders; protecting victim privacy; deciding when and where to report; addressing and preventing retaliation; creating victim-centered safety plans; and identifying other civil legal needs.
Legal Aid is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides free legal services to low-income Arkansans with civil legal problems across 31 counties. To apply for assistance or for more information, call (800) 952-9243 or visit ARLegalAid.org.