In Israel, every action taken by a battered woman to escape domestic violence has legal ramifications, from lodging a complaint with the police to the final act of leaving home. Child custody and support, property rights and division, separation or divorce must all be resolved through the courts, with legal counsel to ensure that a victim of domestic violence does not also become a victim of judicial inequity. Failure to be represented in the courts can ultimately deprive a woman and her children of their basic rights.
Private legal aid is expensive, often prohibitively so, for a battered woman who lacks economic resources. Woman to Woman, a pioneer in providing free legal aid for victims of domestic abuse, retains a full-time attorney to counsel and represent the women in the Shelter, the Halfway Housing program and Community Rehabilitation and Integration. The attorney advises the women on their legal rights and represents them before civil and rabbinical courts. The Shelter’s legal services offer families all-inclusive, integrated assistance, imparting a sense of confidence so vital in rebuilding self-esteem and dignity.