Volunteer Attorney Empowers Mother to Leave Abuse, Not Her Child, Behind

JDC shares this client story in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month

stop-domestic-violenceOne of the many clients that we have had the honor to assist is Ms. Chan. Ms. Chan married a U.S. citizen in her home country and came with him to San Francisco. She did not speak English and had no support system in the U.S. She was mistreated by her husband and his family as they forced her to stay at home every day, cooking and cleaning for them.

When she failed to do as she was told, she was physically abused. Worst of all, she was not allowed to be alone with both of her two children at once, thereby making it impossible to escape without leaving one child behind. Ms. Chan could no longer handle the abuse, and was left with the heartbreaking choice of deciding which child she would take with her.

Eventually Ms. Chan and one child fled to a shelter, and had no contact with the other child for a number of weeks. Fortunately a case manager at the shelter referred her to the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC), where we were able to place Ms. Chan with a volunteer attorney who worked with her to obtain primary custody of her two children, child support, and spousal support. Ms. Chan is now living on her own, safely, with her children.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering or receiving services from JDC, please contact Stephanie Bilinski at 415-782-8987.