Legal Services


Sanctuary is the largest provider in the U.S. of legal services exclusively for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking. We offer comprehensive and culturally competent legal advice and representation in cases involving orders of protection, child custody/visitation, child and spousal support, divorce, immigration, asylum, and prosecution of batterers in criminal matters.

Legal Center staff members also engage in advocacy and training. They regularly offer trainings and workshops on domestic violence law, make presentations at national and international conferences and forums, and provide expert testimony in court and before legislative bodies.

The Legal Center specializes in providing services for immigrant and undocumented battered women, who make up over three-quarters of its clientele. To best serve these clients, Sanctuary actively recruits bilingual and bicultural staff and pro bono attorneys.

The Legal Center is organized around the following projects and initiatives:

Community Liaison Project: addresses the legal needs of Latina, South and East Asian, West African, and other immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence.

Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP): trains and mentors law school students, summer associates, and new law firm associates not yet admitted to the bar to advocate for domestic violence victims when they first enter family court seeking orders of protection.

Economic Justice / Matrimonial Project: provides domestic violence victims with direct representation, consultations, and brief legal services on contested and uncontested divorce, child and spousal support, and public benefits cases, along with related custody, visitation, and protective order matters.

Family Law Project: provides direct representation, consultations, and brief legal services to domestic violence victims in order of protection, custody, visitation, and child support matters, and provides intensive support to pro bono attorneys.

Immigration Intervention Project: provides immigrant victims of domestic violence with critical legal services that allow them to formalize their immigration status, protect them from removal from the United States and reunite them with their children abroad, through the application for e.g. permanent resident status, citizenship, U visas, T visas, asylum and cancellation of removal.

LGBT Initiative: provides targeted outreach and services to LGBT victims of domestic violence.

Anti-Trafficking Initiative: This initiative provides targeted outreach and specialized services to victims of sex trafficking.