URAP

Zhihui Ye

Full Civil Legal Representation for Low-Income Domestic Violence Survivors

This summer I will be working closely with Dr. Anne Bloom on drafting a white paper which addresses the crucial need for free civil legal representation for low-income domestic violence survivors. Domestic violence is alarmingly pervasive and plagues families across all socioeconomic levels, but low-income families experience both higher rates of DV as well as a wider range of DV-related legal problems. The stunning lack of free legal counsel and representation for survivors in divorce and custody proceedings exacerbates the grave power imbalance between abusers and survivors in and out of court, impeding survivors’ chance at independence and rehabilitation. Drawing from empirical data from both psychological and legal research, we will explore various ways in which meaningful, long-term civil legal representation can pull DV survivors out–and keep them out–of the vicious (and sometimes fatal) cycle of power and control.

Message to Sponsor

I would like to extend my gratitude to the sponsors for their generous donation. It allows me to continue my work on a subject is near and dear to my heart. This research topic stemmed from my internship experience at the family law division at a legal aid organization, where I learned the painful reality that many, if not most, family law legal aids suffer from grossly insufficient funding, resulting in overwhelming unmet civil legal needs among low-income families. I hope that my research will raise awareness about the dire situation facing DV survivors and inspire meaningful conversations about changes in civil legal aid funding policies.
  • Major: Cognitive Science and Psychology
  • Mentor: Anne Bloom, Civil Justice Research Initiative