SARAH'S VOICE LEGAL SERVICES
Sarah's Voice is a legal service that provides a multidisciplinary approach to addressing domestic violence issues in the Orthodox community. Sarah's Voice is run by a team of dedicated lawyers and advocates who work hand-in-hand to ease the process for survivors.
Sarah's Voice staff also provides assistance and/or referrals related to housing, benefits, education, healthcare, employment, immigration and consumer finance issues.
All services for victims are confidential, free of charge, and available without regard to gender or age.
For more information about Sarah's Voice call the Shalom Task Force hotline at 718-337-3700 or toll free at 1-888-883-2323 or you can directly reach Sarah’s Voice by calling 347-592-2124.
Ms. R., a victim of domestic violence, is safe from the abuse of her former husband, thanks to the work of Sarah’s Voice attorneys Rachel and Erin. Sarah’s Voice initially assisted Ms. R with her divorce, custody, and order of protection cases against her husband. She withdrew her Order of Protection and agreed to share legal custody of their children because she needed her religious divorce, which her husband was withholding. After Ms. R. obtained her religious and civil divorce she endured two more years of threats, stalking, and harassment by her ex-husband before returning to Sarah’s Voice for help. Rachel stepped in once again and filed a new Order of Protection case against Ms. R.'s ex-husband.
Since Ms. R. could no longer use her siblings to facilitate visitation, Rachel worked closely with the victim’s local police precinct to facilitate safe visitation exchanges. Ms. R. received a five-year Order of Protection which ended the abusive communications and stalking by her former husband. On the day the final order was issued, Ms. R said, “It feels amazing to live life without fear.”
After filing for the new order of protection, Ms. R. used her sister and brother in law to facilitate visitation exchanges. On one occasion he refused to return the children when his visitation was over. When Ms. R.’s siblings came to his apartment he physically attacked them. While he ultimately returned the children, he later called the police and had Ms. R.’s siblings arrested and criminally charged, claiming that they attacked him. He also filed Orders of Protection against them through family court. Erin counter filed for Orders of Protection on the siblings’ behalf and was successful in getting the family court cases against them dismissed. Ms. R.’s sister and brother in law both received five-year Orders of Protection.
What kind of help is available?
Sarah's Voice provides advice on issues of divorce, custody, visitation, and child support, and can in some cases provide brief services (such as help preparing court documents) or representation. We can also help with Orders of Protection. Sarah's Voice attorneys can connect you with other legal services (see above), as well as providing referrals to counseling and other support services.
What will I have to pay?
All of our services are completely free.
What can I expect? How does the process work?
When you first call Sarah’s Voice you will be connected to a paralegal who will speak with you about your situation and the questions that you have. That information is passed on to an experienced attorney, who will get back in contact with you to provide advice.
I am an undocumented immigrant. What will happen when I call?
Sarah’s Voice is able to help citizens and non-citizens alike, and your immigration status will not affect your ability to seek help. Immigration will not be notified when you reach out for help, if you go to Family Court, or if you call the police. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you do not need citizenship status or a social security number to seek legal help.
I have an upcoming court date. Can you help?
Sarah’s Voice is unable to provide emergency legal representation. However, we are able to provide advice and talk you through what to expect in court. We do take on cases for representation when possible. Please call Sarah’s Voice to talk through your options.
I have previously sought help and found it unhelpful/stressful/negative. How will my experience with Sarah’s Voice be different?
The team for Sarah’s Voice have an understanding of domestic abuse and the complexity of addressing domestic abuse in the Jewish Orthodox community. We have a unique understanding of the pressures and difficulties Orthodox people face when trying to get help.
I have limited English speaking abilities. Can you still help me?
Sarah’s Voice has members of staff who speak Hebrew and Russian, and we have interpreters available. When you call Sarah’s Voice, you can ask to be immediately connected to an interpreter.
Will the phone number register on my cell phone?
When you call Sarah’s Voice, the number will register on your cell phone. We advise saving the number under a false name, and making sure that your phone is password protected.
What hours will there be someone at the phone?
There is a staff member answering calls to Sarah’s Voice Monday to Friday, 9:30am until 5:30pm. However, sometimes the staff member may be on another call when you get in touch. Please leave a message with your name and phone number (and whether it is safe to leave you a message on that phone number) and the staff member will get back in contact with you.