The Bulletin Board

Grant to allow NH Legal Assistance to expand its work with domestic violence survivors

By: - September 7, 2022 11:04 am
A sign for New Hampshire Legal Assistance

New Hampshire Legal Assistance received a three-year, $600,000 grant. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)

This headline was updated on Sept. 8, 2022 at 10 a.m. to clarify the use of the grant money.

New Hampshire Legal Assistance has long helped survivors of domestic violence navigate the legal system, including obtaining restraining orders, child support, and parenting plans when someone cannot afford an attorney. The agency says a new grant will allow it to expand that work to ensure victims also get medical and behavioral health services. 

The three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department was one of 59 awarded, NHLA said in a statement Thursday. The organization will partner with WISE in the Upper Valley, which helps people impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking with emergency services and advocacy.

In announcing the funding, NHLA cited findings from the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health showing that victims and survivors of domestic violence are at greater risk for experiencing mental health and substance use conditions as a result of trauma. 

In an email statement, NHLA Executive Director Sarah Mattson Dustin said abusers may use the survivor’s mental health challenges against them by preventing them from accessing treatment or making it an issue in child custody and other legal decisions. 

NHLA developed the initiative based on input from the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and other advocacy centers about the most significant challenges facing survivors in New Hampshire.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.