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In the News

East Bay Lawyer Makes Domestic Abusers Pay

East Bay Express

May 13, 2015     Canlas settled her first case in Sacramento County. Her client, Linda Boblitt agreed to a settlement of $13,500, a figure that Canlas believed was too low. Boblitt was exhausted from the arduous process and learned that the defendant did not have much more than $13,500 to give. Over the span of a few decades, Boblitt’s ex-husband had broken her jaw, knocked out her teeth, and hit her with a car among “regular and more common incidents of domestic violence,” Canlas said.

After the settlement conference and the agreement, the judge gave Canlas some needed encouragement. “He told me, ‘Keep it up, you’re doing God’s work.'”

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Rising Stars and Provocateurs: A Domestic Violence  Lawyer with a Big Idea 


October 20, 2014    …To wit, she sues the jerks instead of trying to lock them up. Count among their ranks one Clyde Berg, a Silicon Valley real estate mogul.* Canlas represents his former wife, Ellena — she is Canlas’ fifth client ever — in a domestic violence suit. It’s a high-profile case not just because of the millions at stake or the horrific violence Ellena Berg alleges, but also because the strategy is relatively new.  While violence victims have found redress in civil court before — think of Nicole Brown Simpson’s family, who won $33.5 million from O.J. Simpson after losing the criminal case — the strategy hasn’t gone mainstream for most domestic violence survivors, who can’t afford the slog through a lawsuit.

“I think she’s filling a huge gap in the legal world,” says Nancy Lemon, Canlas’ former law professor at Berkeley and a leading expert on domestic violence. It’s rare to fight domestic violence in civil court, Lemon says. Some family practice attorneys will do it, but they charge hefty fees. Canlas is pinching pennies to do it the nonprofit way.

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The Feministing Five: Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas


April 26, 2014     To wrap up Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we spoke with Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas, founder of the Alipato Project, based in Oakland California. Bolstered by a small staff and volunteers, the Alipato Project seeks to offer an alternative form of justice for domestic violence survivors by connecting them with lawyers who help bring civil suits against their perpetrators.

One pause before we listen to Tia talk about her work (and among other things radical children’s books). The brilliance behind the Alipato Project and Tia’s method lies in the slight but important difference between civil and criminal cases.

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Courage Runs in the Family

Positively Filipino

March 25, 2014     Psychologists say children who witness domestic violence are twice likely to become either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence in adulthood, because they would emulate what they think is normal behavior. In that case, Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas bucked the odds.

When she was a few months old in the womb of her mother, Tina Taruc, Tia bore the brunt of her father’s rage. In a violent outburst, he punched his pregnant wife in the stomach.

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‘Alipato Project’ Defending abuse survivors

Philippine News

January 31, 2014     A group of believers in social justice have banded together to protect survivors of domestic violence by making their abusers financially accountable.

They call themselves the Alipato Project, named for founder Tia Canlas’ grandfather Luis Taruc. For Filipinos who know their history, the name peals.

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Oakland Non-Profit Fights for Financial Rights of Abuse Survivors

Oakland Local     

June 5, 2013     One out of every three women in the world will be raped, beaten, trafficked, or abused in her lifetime. In California alone, law enforcement receives one domestic violence related call every three minutes.

Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas founded the Alipato Project in Oakland to help provide legal representation for domestic violence survivors and obtain financial restitution from their abusers. Alipato is a Tagalog noun, which means “a small glowing ember that escapes a dying fire.”

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Domestic Violence Survivors and Allies: Know Your Rights Workshop

Indy Bay

April 24, 2013     Co-founder and Staff Attorney of the Alipato Project presents legal remedies for domestic violence survivors beyond criminal justice solutions. Q&A and referrals at the end.

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