DV LEAP prioritizes litigation in Washington, D.C., our home, and in the courts where we have the most experience. The DC LEAP Program provides appellate representation and in-depth consultations for local survivors; policy development with the local community; and technical assistance and training to advocates, lawyers and judges.

Appellate Advocacy

Here are examples of what we've accomplished for clients:

  • Won appeals to protect sexually abused children from the father
  • Secured unsupervised visitation for a falsely accused parent
  • Challenged the denial of due process to survivors in civil protection order cases
  • Supported employment compensation for a survivor of abuse
  • Reversed a trial court’s refusal to enter a civil protection order despite admitted threats by the abuser
  • Advocated for survivors’ continued control over the enforcement of their civil protection orders
  • Challenged successfully the "consent defense" to violations of civil protection orders
  • Appealing currently an order of shared legal custody with a father whose violence and racism toward his ex-wife sabotaged cooperative parenting

DV LEAP often collaborates with the U.S. Attorney's Office to support and improve advocacy on behalf of victims of abuse in criminal cases.  We also provide consultations in criminal appeals and friend of the court briefs. A recent example is a brief heard by the full D.C. Court of Appeals, concerning the definition of threats under D.C. law.

Technical Assistance

Judicial Trainings

  • Custody and abuse
  • Vicarious trauma
  • Gender bias in custody and abuse cases
  • Legal options for survivors
  • Development in domestic violence case law
See Cases

Supreme Court Program

Before DV LEAP, no domestic violence specific cases were argued before the Supreme Court. That changed within five years of our founding as we helped usher three DV appeals to the high court.

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