Press Release | May 5, 2019

The Texas Bar Foundation awards $27,000 to Texas Advocacy Project Access to Attorneys: Legal Solutions to Medical Problems Initiative

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The Texas Bar Foundation awards $27,000 to Texas Advocacy Project Access to Attorneys:
Legal Solutions to Medical Problems Initiative

AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Bar Foundation will invest $27,000 in Texas Advocacy Project’s Access to Attorneys: Legal Solutions to Medical Problems Initiative. The funding will allow The Project to partner with healthcare providers to establish medical legal partnerships. It is known that the poorest of the poor often use hospital/community health services as primary care avenues. Studies show that women who talk to their healthcare provider about abuse are 2.6 times more likely to exit the abusive relationship (McCloskey et al, 2006). Texas Advocacy Project believes a collaboration of medical and legal professionals, working side by side sharing data and resources, can create better upstream long-term patterns of health and safety for clients/patients through civil legal services.

In 2018, Texas Advocacy Project began providing presentations at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and Family Connects on how to spot medical issues that may be resolved through legal remedies. Presentations included proprietary trainings, such as “When Your Gut Tells You Your Patients Are Not Safe At Home: Legal Solutions to Medical Problems.” 1 in 3 Texas women experience intimate partner violence and 1 in 4 will be victim to sexual assault in their lifetime. Low-income victims of abuse face many obstacles when trying to leave their abusers, primarily a lack of access to attorneys. A woman with a protective order is 80% less likely to be re-victimized. Legal remedies work and legal services are key to ending abuse. In addition, studies demonstrate the overall health of a community is improved if legal aid is available.

This initiative will:

  • Formalize and increase collaborations with medical providers statewide, to provide trainings for their physicians and medical staff to assist them in identifying low-income patient/client survivors of domestic violence needing legal support;
  • Provide legal support to those identified low-income patient/client survivors of domestic violence as needed; and
  • Document, refine, and replicate the model statewide as resources permit.

Issue Summary:
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation's largest charitably-funded bar foundation

Texas Advocacy Project’s (The Project) mission is to prevent domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking through free legal services, access to the justice system, and education. In 2018, The Project provided legal services in over 4,300 cases, serving nearly 11,000 Texans. In addition, The Project provided training resources to 3,432 judges, prosecutors, crime victim services personnel, legal advocates, medical professionals, educators, and others. If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence and you need legal help, call 1-800-374-HOPE to speak to an attorney for free.

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