District of Columbia Family Court


Thank goodness for The Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project!




DV LEAP is committed to assisting in meritorious appeals of civil and criminal cases concerning the rights of domestic violence survivors and their children in D.C. 

Issues we have litigated include child sexual abuse and domestic violence; denial of due process to victims of abuse; private enforcement of civil protection orders; a “consent defense” to violations of civil protection orders, and others.

Click here to learn more about specific cases.

Technical Assistance

DV LEAP frequently provides consultations and resources to local domestic violence attorneys, advocates and survivors regarding possible appeals.  DV LEAP also consults with attorneys and litigants at the trial court level on strategic questions and to ensure a sufficient record is made to support a possible appeal. 

Criminal Justice Project

DV LEAP has begun formal collaborations with both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the D.C. Public Defender Service to support and improve their advocacy on behalf of victims of abuse in criminal cases.  DV LEAP has provided friend of the court briefs and consultations on several criminal cases and is developing a training for defense counsel on defending abused women in criminal cases.

Legislative & Policy Reform

DV LEAP assists the local domestic violence community with efforts to improve the District’s statutes governing domestic violence.  DV LEAP has focused on needed amendments to the custody statute, and to the definitions of domestic violence in various statutes.

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