Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10th. It honors the day on which, in 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It’s 2015 and domestic violence is still treated as a private matter. Applying a human rights framework provides a way to interrupt this perception and reframe it as a national problem. Indeed, in the United States, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, and one in four women are abused by their partners.
Yet, numerous barriers exist in the U.S. to preventing domestic violence and holding perpetrators accountable. One such barrier is the severe lack of legal representation in civil court available to domestic violence resisters, whether in seeking restraining orders, custody of their children, or money damages. Despite the fact that basic needs are at stake in these proceedings, there is no constitutional right to counsel in civil cases.
A human rights framework requires that governments provide individuals with access to court and to an adequate and adequate remedy when their rights are violated. Human rights standards also call for governments to ensure their citizens are free from want and free from fear.
Until our government guarantees housing, food, and legal counsel to domestic violence resisters, the Alipato Project will continue to represent abused families in civil court to help obtain financial reparations from their batterers. For Human Rights Day, please donate to the Alipato Project to help us pay for rent in 2016!