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Legal Advocacy Services

Many survivors of domestic abuse will use the courts to help them find safety from an abusive partner. Some will do so by choice, going to court to get a restraining order for example; still others may end up in court because of someone else’s actions, like a neighbor calling the police.

There are criminal courts designed to punish abusers for committing crimes of domestic violence. There are also civil courts which aim to provide assistance through legal orders to protect children and survivors, grant divorces, or establish child support.

The legal system can be scary and confusing. DOVE’s Legal Advocacy Program can help.

The Legal Advocacy Program began in 1978 when DOVE Advocates accompanied survivors of domestic violence to court with the goal of providing support and information. Today, DOVE’s Legal Advocacy Program provides the following:


  • A Safe and Compassionate Place:
    Come to discuss your situation in a confidential, supportive environment with legal staff specializing in domestic violence cases.
  • Individualized Risk Assessment and Safety Planning:
    Identify potential risks and explore possible ways to minimize those risks.
  • Legal Education:
    Empower yourself with knowledge about how the laws of Massachusetts can protect and assist you.
  • Legal Assistance:
    Work with staff to identify legal issues, assess the strengths of your case, and evaluate options. Legal staff can help you understand the court process and procedures and may be able to help you write the documents you need for court.


Individual Legal Advocacy

LEGAL HELPLINE: 617.770.4065 X 120

  • Ask legal questions to DOVE Legal Advocacy Program staff
  • Receive basic legal information, advice, and referrals

DOVE Staff Attorneys may be able to provide limited representation in court in certain types of cases, for example:

  • 209A Abuse prevention order hearings in Norfolk Probate and Family Court and local district courts
  • Urgent custody and financial support cases brought in Norfolk County to maximize safety and enhance stability


  • Help determining which documents you need to file with the court for 209A   restraining orders, divorce, child custody and support, and more help writing these documents and organizing supporting evidence

DOVE Staff Attorneys can provide information about available legal aid services in your community, including:

  • Referrals to help clients find an attorney who is knowledgeable about their specific legal issues
  • Information about dates and times of free legal clinics in the community

DOVE Advocates and Staff Attorneys are available to provide support services to people with matters in the Quincy District Court and the Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

DOVE Advocates and Staff Attorneys are available to provide support services to people with matters in the Quincy District Court (every Friday morning) and the Norfolk Probate and Family Court (every Monday morning).