Bar Association Advocates gets $33,000 grant

GREENFIELD — Lawyers advocating for domestic violence victims will be getting a slight boost in pay for their services.

The Franklin County Bar Association Advocates received a $33,000 grant from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation to support the Bar Advocates for Victims of Domestic Violence, Children and Elders Program. The funds cover staff costs, supplies and reimbursements to attorneys for their work.

The program offers legal advice and representation to many low income domestic violence victims, children in family law matters and to elders with civil legal needs. Members of the bar association provide the services.

“There are a lot of people who have legal needs that are not being met,” said Executive Director Christine Baronas. “Low-income people have a hard time accessing the legal system. This is one way to help. We need attorneys who can do legal services that are needed for low-income people.”

The Franklin County Bar Association has received the grant from the state bar foundation every year since 1990. The annual grant has been level-funded for the first time since there was a drop in funding after the 2008 recession.

For more information, potential clients, human service providers, court staff and schools can contact the Franklin County Bar Association at 413-773-9839. Domestic violence victims can also contact the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition for an advice session at 413-772-0871. A brief screening process determines income eligibility (generally 185 percent of the poverty level) and whether the legal need will be met.

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