On Wednesday, November 18, 2020, San Antonio Legal Services Association (SALSA) and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) co-hosted the Pro Bono Protective Order Project Continuing Legal Education (CLE) webinar. Over 100 attendees showed their support of tackling the problem of domestic violence in our community by participating in the online event. The CLE webinar included expert speakers who informed guests about tips for handling domestic violence cases, as well as what else can be done in our community to help out.
The first presenter, Ms. Dorie Budde, LMSW, a Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate at Joint Base San Antonio, has years of experience working with victims. Ms. Budde presented about the dynamics of domestic violence – specifically, the ethical considerations for legal professionals working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in protective orders cases. She highlighted the need for compassion and understanding when working with domestic violence survivors.
Ms. Neva Fernandez, Advocacy Manager with Texas Legal Services Center, presented next. Ms. Fernandez explored the subject of trauma-informed interviewing – emphasizing the need for such training so that the client feels comfortable enough to open up to the interviewer. Ms. Fernandez took the time to thoroughly explain the process and provided strategies that should be used by legal professionals when working with domestic violence cases. A more thorough intake interview allows for a more complete case file once it reaches the attorney’s hands.
Presenting the overview of protective order law was Ms. Erin Martinson, JD, Team Manager of the Domestic Violence and Family Team with TRLA. Ms. Martinson reviewed both the Texas Family Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, explaining the governing laws surrounding protective order practice.
The CLE concluded with a pragmatic closing by attorney, Mr. Richard Loza. Mr. Loza currently serves as Staff Attorney with TRLA. Mr. Loza shared his expertise by presenting practical tips for litigating protective orders in district court, as well as key insights into working in Bexar County.
Want to watch this dynamic training course so that you can get involved? Check it out here:
Dynamics of Domestic Violence: https://youtu.be/msZXw1AdDtw
Trauma-Informed Interviewing: https://youtu.be/Pl0KFJETt6M
Protective Orders 101: https://youtu.be/jTBhkv00vNw
Litigating Protective Orders in District Court: https://youtu.be/UN0Az6811k8
One of the next steps toward solving the domestic violence problem in our community is to increase participation with the Pro Bono Protective Order Project. SALSA is committed to providing both a platform and resources to address the increasing demand for protective orders. However, our success in this endeavor is entirely dependent upon the support of our community. Volunteers are needed to help survivors of domestic violence get the protective orders they need to help keep themselves and their children safe.
Attorneys can sign up to represent a survivor of domestic violence seeking help with a protective order here: https://sa-lsa.volunteerhub.com/event/index/12483750.
Non-attorney volunteers can sign up to conduct intake interviews here:
If you are unable to give your time, please consider donating to SALSA to help keep our community safe during the holidays. To make a donation, please visit: https://www.sa-lsa.org/donate/.