A Lifeline for Rural Residents
Karen is a physically disabled woman living in a rural county with a population of just 36,000 people. She had divorced her husband in 2006 but they had reconciled and then purchased a home together. However, when he began abusing her she sought legal assistance from our grantee, Prairie State Legal Services.
Prairie State represented her in the order of protection and helped her obtain exclusive possession of her home. But their advocacy for her didn’t stop there. Prairie State worked with local police and the State’s Attorney to extend her order of protection indefinitely after her ex continued to harass and threaten her.
In rural communities, legal representation is particularly important as law enforcement may have less training on domestic violence, and as a result may be less responsive. In this particular county, Prairie State began working with the State’s Attorney and the domestic violence agency to improve responsiveness for victims by strengthening the work of the family violence coordinating council. At the same time, housing options in rural counties are very limited, making preservation of home ownership critical.
Ultimately, Karen’s case highlights how Prairie State takes a holistic approach to legal services for its clients, helping them improve their lives.