Cara had a new baby and was in an intensely controlling, abusive relationship with the baby’s father, Darren. Cara was afraid to sleep, turn her back on Darren, or leave the baby alone because Darren would shake the baby and make graphic threats of how he would end the child’s life. Cara went to a counselor for help, as she wanted advice before risking herself and her child by leaving her abuser. The counselor recommended legal aid who, along with the Family Law Resource Center, helped Cara file for custody. Legal aid also assisted Cara with safety planning because the point of separation presents the greatest risk to victims of domestic violence. Cara was once an unemployed mother without a close social network; now she has a custody order, a new and exciting job, plans for college in the future, housing of her own, and a happy and playful toddler. Cara said that legal aid made her “feel like a person” and “feel hope again.”

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