Victims' Rights Group

Attorneys in the Victims' Rights Group serve survivors through the Survivor-Centered Economic Advocacy Team and two special projects—Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse (LASA) and Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA), which is a statewide program funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

Maricarmen Garza, Group Coordinator

LEGAL ALLIANCE FOR SURVIVORS OF ABUSE (LASA) SHELTER PROJECT

Since 1999, TRLA has partnered with rape crisis centers, shelters, and other agencies and organizations that provide direct services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The partnerships, known as LASA, provide important results in terms of providing services to survivors and strengthening the ability of partners agencies to expand their reach in their communities. Through LASA, survivors can apply for a full range of legal services at the agencies where they first turn for help, which promotes a safe, holistic, and victim-centered approach to their cases.

Maricarmen Garza, Project Director
Carmen Hileman, Assistant Project Director

LEGAL AID FOR SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT (LASSA)

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LASSA's mission is to provide trauma-informed, client-centered legal services to victims from intake to case closing. To that end, LASSA case handlers and advocates focus on client safety, privacy, and legal goals.

Services & Activities

  • Advise and represent survivors so they can achieve their civil legal goals, including divorce, child custody, obtaining unpaid wages, maintaining benefits, fighting workplace discrimination, and obtaining work permits and immigration status for immigrant victims of violence;

  • Help survivors ensure their safety through protective orders and special safety requests at work and school;

  • Help survivors safeguard their privacy by protecting their health information and counseling records, and by assisting them in managing ongoing privacy concerns;

  • Provide survivors with access to legal services by conducting trauma-informed intakes through our LASSA hotline and by reviewing legal requests for survivors at shelters and rape crisis centers;

  • Help empower survivors and their families by coordinating cross-agency referrals from and to community partners;

  • Survivors of sexual violence can apply for our services by calling our intake number (800-991-5153). Legal advocates at shelters and rape crisis centers also conduct intakes for survivors. For more information, please visit LASSA.

Adriana Rodriguez, Team Manager

Survivor-Centered ECONOMIC ADVOCACY Team

The Economic Advocacy Team seeks to address and remedy the financial problems that survivors of crime and abuse often face as a result of their victimization. Some of the negative economic consequences include damage to credit reputation and lack of access to credit; reduced or limited access to income, savings, and assets; lower levels of workforce and educational participation; and reduction in feelings of financial confidence.

Services & Activities

  • Provide a holistic, victim-centered and victim-driven approach to economic security; this includes providing victims with tools for restoring themselves financially by addressing issues such as identity theft, debt collection, credit discrimination, federal taxes, and foreclosure;

  • Litigation when a victim's consumer rights have been violated in areas such as credit discrimination, debt collection, damage to credit reputation, housing, foreclosure, and access to financial services;

  • Representation and assistance with federal taxes;

  • Financial empowerment by educating victims about how to set goals and make choices to further their financial objectives;

  • Cross-training and collaboration: Many times victims of crime and abuse receive services from multiple organizations or multiple attorneys, each independent from each other. As a result, victims often fail to benefit from a more holistic approach. The Economic Advocacy Team provides training and lends expertise to other TRLA attorneys and to partner organizations that assist victims in related legal matters in order to provide holistic remedies.

Carla Sanchez-Adams, Team Manager