Open for Business: Organization continues to serve the vulnerable during pandemic
GEORGETOWN, Del. – “We still are open for business and we are still helping people with civil legal needs,” said Laura Graham.
The Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. says they’re doing everything they can to reassure underserved communities in Delaware that they’re still up and running amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“So, we just have concerns that community thinks that we’re closed and that they don’t seek out our help,” said Graham, deputy director at the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.
This group, which helps provide free legal services to victims of domestic violence and immigrant victims of crime says they’re getting fewer calls for help especially in places where there’s less access to resources.
“We’ve seen a decline in cases, particularly in Kent and Sussex County and particularly in the domestic violence program,” said Graham.
Although their offices are closed this team says they’re working tirelessly to support the community from home, but we’re told it’s been tough.
“By working remotely, we lose that ability to meet directly with the clients and to have those in-person interviews, which are so important,” said Joann Kingsley, an immigration paralegal at the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.
They say that by not meeting face to face they’re missing out on critical information that will help their clients during times of crisis.
“For clients who don’t have video capabilities, it’s a little harder when all that the client is hearing on the other end of the phone is a voice and they have no idea who I am or what I look like,” said Graham.
But despite facing some challenges this organization says they’re pushing for more resources like video content so that they’re able to help the most vulnerable as best they can.
“It’s so important they not lose hope, to know that we’re still here, that there are people on the other end of the phone or a Skype call or whatever it is, that we’re still here to help,” said Kingsley.
Just as a reminder if you are facing domestic violence you are encouraged to call the 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline in your area for assistance and resources, including shelter:
New Castle County (English & Spanish): 302-762-6110
Northern Kent County (English): 302-678-3886
Kent & Sussex (English): 302-422-8058
Kent & Sussex (Spanish): 302-745-9874
Contact the Community Legal Aid Society Inc. (CLASI) for free, confidential legal services on civil legal matters:
CLASI – New Castle County: 302-575-0660
CLASI – Kent County: 302-674-8500
CLASI – Sussex County: 302-856-0038
People can also contact the Domestic Violence Advocacy Program for help with Protection From Abuse filings at 302-255-2609.
To access information about the PFA process, click here.