Spotlight: Stacey Sarver, Esq.
WomensLaw's Legal Director, Stacey Sarver, was featured in her law school's newsletter. Read some excerpts from the article where she talks about her work with NNEDV and the WomensLaw Project:
Stacey Sarver is Senior Attorney at the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Legal Director of WomensLaw.org, a project of NNEDV.
Stacey explains that the mission of WomensLaw.org is to provide easy-to-understand legal information and resources to women living with or escaping domestic violence. Since joining the organization in February 2008, Stacey has been in charge of all of the legal content contained on the website. She wishes every women confronting domestic violence could have access to a free or affordable competent lawyer, but the vast majority of women remain unrepresented. The website provides state-specific information about domestic violence and family law in "plain language," thereby helping women across the country lead lives free of abuse.
She also manages the e-mail hotline, where women write in with questions or to obtain referrals for an attorney or domestic violence organization when struggling to end an abusive situation. Stacey and staff receive 3,000 to 5,000 e-mail inquiries a year. Each e-mail is answered within 5 business days, and the responses are tailored to each person's specific needs. The staff and volunteers know that the information they provide can make a profound difference and affect the women—and their children—for the rest of their lives.
The biggest challenge currently is the limit on what the organization can do in the face of such a large need. WomensLaw.org provides critical information, support, and referrals, but at the end of the day many women fleeing an abusive situation must do so without legal representation. From Stacey's perspective, a woman who has managed to leave her abuser should not then have to face him unrepresented during a subsequent custody hearing.
When asked to share a success story, Stacey immediately conveys the satisfaction she gets from the regular feedback WomensLaw.org receives from those they help. Women frequently write saying that the information on the website or in the e-mail made a real difference. She is often told that WomensLaw.org was the only place that took the time to respond; that response, together with the specific information on domestic violence, proves invaluable. The personal stories and connections are the rewards that keep Stacey going.