Summary of Request
Family Violence Appellate Project (“FVAP”) seeks to transform its website into a comprehensive, user-friendly Legal Resource Library (“Project”) for attorneys, advocates, and survivors of domestic violence and gender-based abuse. The database will consist of model briefs, motions and pleading templates, toolkits and tip sheets, legal resources, social science research, and trainings developed by FVAP. FVAP seeks proposals from vendors to build and develop this Legal Resource Library on FVAP’s existing WordPress website platform.
FVAP is a California and Washington state non-profit legal organization whose mission is to ensure the safety and well-being of survivors of domestic violence and other forms of intimate partner, family, and gender-based abuse by helping them obtain effective appellate representation. FVAP provides legal assistance to survivors of abuse at the appellate level through direct representation, collaborating with pro bono attorneys, advocating for survivors on important legal issues, and offering training and legal support for legal services providers and domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking counselors. FVAP is the California State Bar-funded Support Center with expertise in domestic violence law, family law, and appellate procedure.
By centering our work on the most marginalized survivors, including rural, immigrant, Native American, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ communities, FVAP works to transform the power of the civil legal system to support all survivors of abuse. A significant part of this work is ensuring survivors, especially those experiencing multiple oppressions, and the people who support them, have access to the legal information, resources and remedies they need to achieve justice.
History of FVAP’s website and Legal Resource Library:
FVAP was founded in 2012, and launched its website (www.fvaplaw.org) that year. The Legal Resource Library was launched in approximately 2016. FVAP’s website and Legal Resource Library is hosted on WordPress.
In 2021, the California Access to Justice Commission (“CA ATJ”) announced an RFP for the Legal Aid Infrastructure & Innovation Grants. FVAP applied to upgrade its Legal Resource Library, and was selected as a grantee in early 2022. This project is being funded by the CA ATJ grant.
Project Overview and Purpose:
FVAP relies extensively on thousands of documents (including social science and law review articles, legal briefs, case law, research memos, referral resources and sample motions) both for impact appellate litigation and to provide technical assistance and written resources to attorneys, advocates, and self-represented litigants. Currently, FVAP has numerous independent systems for storing these resources, creating significant barriers to accessing and maintaining the resources. Additionally, only a small portion of these legal resource documents are available to attorneys, advocates, and self-represented litigants on FVAP’s website. FVAP has not had the capacity to further develop and maintain a comprehensive Legal Resource Library for the public. As an example, FVAP has over 7,000 files containing social science and legal research information that is not currently available on its website. Furthermore, survey responses have shown that individuals searching FVAP’s website for resources find it “cumbersome” and difficult to locate materials. Access to these resources is critical for attorneys, advocates, and self-represented litigants.
Goals and Outcomes:
An easy-to-use, highly effective, up-to-date resource library will significantly increase access to self-help materials, advocate resources, sample briefs and other legal resources, and social science and law review articles targeted to the appropriate audience. The external outcomes will be:
- Self-represented DV survivors in California and Washington will have better access to legal information and resources to help them with their cases (estimated 200,000+ people/year)
- DV advocates in California and Washington will have better access to legal information and resources to help their survivor clients
- Legal aid attorneys in California and Washington will have better access to sample briefs, research, and social science to help survivors in trial court
- Legal aid attorneys nationwide will have better access to DV social science research and materials, as well as sample amicus briefs, to help survivors in trial or appellate courts