Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida recognized for its efforts to combat domestic violence

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida recognized for its efforts to combat domestic violence

RISE Project attorney Paul Yune and paralegal Jaceinte McDougle.

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) was awarded the Broward Domestic Violence Council’s 2023 Outstanding Program Award for its RISE (Rights in Systems Enforced) Project.

The award was presented by the Broward Domestic Violence Council during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities.

Victims of intimate partner violence and domestic violence often have many legal issues at one time. They may need an injunction for protection, a divorce, they may be served with an eviction, and they may have a criminal case against their abuser. CCLA has provided holistic civil legal services for years, however, the criminal case was always a separate matter which caused their clients frustration and confusion.

“For many victims who never played a part in the criminal justice system, the criminal case can be an overwhelming experience,” according to CCLA. “Many feel like giving up. They are not technically a party and have not always been an integral part of the process. However, in 2018, voters in Florida approved an amendment to Florida’s Constitution which enumerated a set of enforceable rights and protections for victims of crime. On January 8, 2019, the constitutional amendment to Florida’s Constitution in Article 1, Section 16, also known as Marsy’s Law, went into effect.”

In 2019, CCLA hired its first RISE attorney, Paul Yune, then added a paralegal last year and another attorney this year.

One client said: “He has been amazing! He has been extremely supportive during this very emotional and stressful time. He has kept me updated on my cases and what to expect, he is great!” Another victim said: “I just wanted to say a huge thanks…for your professionalism, for your help to those people in need like me, for your efforts and kindness.”

A law enforcement-based victim advocate said: “As a victim advocate it has been a true asset to work in collaboration with RISE program. The victims of crime feel supported, represented, and have a stronger voice in the system thanks to RISE! RISE Attorney Paul Yune has been a cornerstone of Marsy’s Law implementation into the criminal justice system here in Broward County. In addition to his legal work, Paul shows kindness and compassion that further healing for those he serves!”

“Having our knowledgeable and caring attorneys by their side throughout the criminal proceeding provides survivors of intimate partner violence protection from intimidation and further abuse and supports them with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said said Executive Director Lisa G. Goldberg. “We are so proud of this program,”

CCLA says in the continuum of care that victims of domestic violence need to escape their abusers, “the RISE Project is that link between the civil legal system and criminal justice system which supports victims through their civil cases, injunctions for protection, family cases, housing cases, and benefits cases to the criminal cases against their abusers.”

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