New TRLA Team for Crime, Abuse Survivors

Feb. 14, 2017 WESLACO, Texas — Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) has launched its new Survivor Centered Economic Advocacy (SCEA) team to help victims of sexual assault, family violence and human trafficking deal with the economic difficulties that arise because of abuse and crime. The new team, operating under the umbrella of TRLA’s Victims’ Rights Group, will be led by attorney Carla Sanchez-Adams, who has practiced family law in the past but focused for the last six years on consumer protection.

“TRLA has strong practice teams that deal with the core issues — human trafficking, domestic and family violence, and sexual assault,” said Sanchez-Adams. “But there’s growing concern at the state, national, and even international level about the need to help victims with the economic consequences of abuse and crime – the debt, poor credit, and limited access to income that often flow from the dissolution of families and support structures.”

Specifically, SCEA attorneys will help victims facing problems related to predatory lending, debt collection, credit reporting, denial of housing or employment because of background checks, federal tax liability, foreclosure, and a general lack of access to credit.

“We’ll take a survivor-centered, holistic approach to help our clients achieve economic security,” said Sanchez-Adams. “What this means is that the survivor will be at the center of all decision-making. The survivor will be empowered to choose what legal remedies to pursue in the present and what financial goals to set in the future. The survivor will be equipped with the necessary tools to make legal and financial decisions according to the goals they set for themselves.”

SCEA attorneys will take on litigation for survivors whose consumer rights have been violated, and represent and assist them with federal tax issues. Attorneys will work to empower victims financially through better management of household and personal finances, and they will collaborate on their behalf with other TRLA practice teams and partner organizations.

TRLA, Texas’ largest legal aid organization, helps more than 20,000 low-income Texans get access to civil justice annually. However, due to a lack of resources, too many low-income Texans still do not get the legal help they need. Currently, there are over 15,000 eligible low-income Texans for every one TRLA attorney.

For more information or to arrange interviews with attorneys, please contact Nancy Nusser, 512 374 2764, nnusser@trla.org, or Carla Sanchez-Adams, 512 374 2763 or csanchez@trla.org