Applying a trauma-informed approach to legal advocacy or legal representation raises unique challenges. Working within a system that we do not control can seem incompatible with taking a trauma-informed approach to our work. However, it is when we are working with someone who is navigating these systems that our ability to provide trauma-informed advocacy becomes most critical.
Originally created in 2013 by Rachel White-Domain, JD, as a project of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health, the Trauma-Informed Legal Advocacy (TILA) Project was developed to offer practical guidance to lawyers and legal advocates on applying trauma-informed principles to their work advocating for survivors of domestic violence in the context of legal proceedings. For more information, see www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org.
What is the TILA Network?
We all share the same goals—advocating for survivors of violence and their children, and ultimately, ending interpersonal violence. The TILA Network is based on the premise that we do our best work when we work together. The TILA Network is designed to provide direct service providers with access to TILA training materials and to facilitate collaboration between lawyers and legal advocates who are interested in bringing a trauma-informed approach to their work and to the field.
Joining the TILA Network is completely free. The network is open to anyone who advocates on behalf of survivors of domestic violence in legal or administrative proceedings.
You should become a member of the TILA Network if...
1. You want to be on the email list!
Get TILA Project updates and resources via this low-traffic email list.
2. You want to incorporate TILA PowerPoints into trainings for staff or volunteers at your organization!
Direct service agencies need training on trauma-informed legal advocacy but rarely have the resources to bring in national experts. Lawyers at under-resourced legal aid agencies are juggling case loads while also being tasked with recruiting and training pro bono lawyers to meet the need for legal representation. When you sign up as a member of the TILA Network, you get access to TILA training materials, including open PowerPoint slides, via a shared Google Drive, as well as technical assistance on incorporating these materials into broader trainings.
3. You want to help create new TILA materials!
The TILA Network is also intended to encourage legal advocates and attorneys to "give back" to the project by contributing to the development of new resources, including by sharing comments and strategies. Feeling inspired? You might want to consider collaborating with other TILA Network members to create new TILA scenarios that can be shared with the group. For example, we will soon be working with partners to develop brief TILA scenarios specifically for immigration attorneys.
Questions? You can get in touch with Rachel White-Domain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We owe it to survivors and their children to work together so that we can do our best work. Let's get connected!