Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) announces today that he cosponsored the Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act to addresses the need to increase legal services for victims of domestic violence by creating a coordinated, nationwide system of attorney referrals to assist domestic violence victims. Congressman Poe proudly joins the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) in sponsoring this bipartisan legislation.
The same Constitution that protects the rights of defendants in the courtroom is the same Constitution that protects the rights of victims of crime, said Poe. Often times, victims of domestic violence find they have nowhere to turn, no money for attorneys, nor the knowledge to navigate the legal system that traditionally overlooks their needs. This bill aims to help these victims with the legal assistance they need to secure their safety and potentially save their lives.
HR 6088, the Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act:
- Creates an electronic network of volunteer attorneys. The network will be managed by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, which will solicit and mentor the lawyers and conduct training and provide other technical assistance.
- Authorizes new funds to the National Domestic Violence Hotline to update the system and train advocates on how to provide referrals for voluntary attorneys.
- Creates a pilot program to implement the volunteer attorney network in five states. The program will be administered by the Office of Violence Against Women in DOJ. After these five years, if successful, the program will be rolled out nationally.
- Establishes a Domestic Violence Legal Advisory Task Force, which will monitor the program and make recommendations.
- Mandates a GAO study to assess the scope and quality of legal services available to battered women in each state. The GAO will report to Congress within one year.
Congressman Poe is the founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus and life-long advocate for victims and children. Congressman Poe serves on the Board of Directors for the Childrens Assessment Center in Houston and recognized nationally for his efforts on behalf of victims.