Washington, DC --- Today U.S. Representative Heath Shuler announced that Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville, NC has been awarded a $435,211 Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) grant through the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant will go toward Pisgah Legal Services’ Mountain Violence Prevention Program.
“For over a decade, Pisgah Legal Services has played a vital role in helping thousands of domestic abuse victims in underserved, rural communities across Western North Carolina get the representation they need and deserve in the legal system,” said Rep. Shuler. “This important funding will ensure that Pisgah Legal Services is able to continue providing equal access to justice to victims who often have nowhere else to turn.”
The Mountain Violence Prevention Program, which was started in 1999 with another LAV grant, serves Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania Counties. Previous LAV funding has allowed Pisgah Legal Services to provide free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. This service was accomplished through staff attorneys, a social worker, two part-time court advocates, a legal assistant, and a network of trained volunteer attorneys.
“Pisgah Legal Services is grateful for the commitment of Congressman Health Shuler and his staff to help more than 1,250 victims of domestic violence get the legal services they need each year,” said Jim Barrett, executive director of Pisgah Legal Services. “We have experienced a 49% increase in calls for help from victims of abuse from 2008 through 2010. This grant ensures that Pisgah Legal Services can continue to provide critical legal services for victims and their families here in Western North Carolina.”