Building Legal Capacity to Combat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Immigrants | CLINIC
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Building Legal Capacity to Combat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Immigrants

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC, supports the largest network of charitable immigration legal programs in the nation. Its mission is to promote the dignity and protect the rights of immigrants in partnership with a dedicated network of community-based immigration legal programs, both Catholic and non-Catholic. The goal of CLINIC and its network is to provide a full range of comprehensive legal and non-legal support services to the most vulnerable and disenfranchised migrants.

There is a large unmet need for immigration legal services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Abusers, offenders and perpetrators of crime often use a person’s lack of immigration status as a principal control mechanism and a means of exploitation. If immigration legal services are local and available then survivors of crime may regularize their status and be able to leave the abusive relationship or cooperate fully with law enforcement to convict the offender. Lack of capacity to respond to immigration issues puts survivors of crime at a severe disadvantage.

CLINIC is pleased to provide training and technical assistance to the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grantees and partners on substantive immigration law, recognition and accreditation, and assistance with starting an immigration legal services program. The Department of Justice (DOJ) recognition and accreditation process is open to nonprofit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organizations and allows for its non-attorney employees or volunteers to become accredited to practice immigration law with authorization. Increasing the number of DOJ recognized agency locations and accredited staff is essential to responding to the immigration legal services needs of immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

If you are interested in learning about the training and technical assistance offered by CLINIC, please contact Silvana Arista-Olms at 301-565-4827, To register for trainings see list of upcoming training opportunities below.


2018 Training Opportunities

Webinar: Introduction to Building Legal Capacity to Combat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Immigrants Project 
Dec. 18, 2018 | 2 p.m.  EST | Register Here

Please join this webinar if you would like to learn more about the training and technical assistance that CLINIC will be offering to grantees in 2019.


2019 Training Opportunities

E-learning: Introduction to Immigration Law Practice: A Course for New Practitioners
Jan. 15 – Feb. 26: Learn more and register here   ||   July 2 – Aug. 13: Learn more and register here

This is a six week course on the fundamentals of immigration law, procedure and the skills necessary to be an effective advocate. This course is essential for those who plan to apply for accreditation. 

E-learning: Select Issues in U Status and VAWA Self-Petitioning
April 3 - May 1 | Learn more and register here

This four-week training will focus on cutting edge or developing topics in self-petitioning under the Violence Against Women Act for survivors of domestic violence and U nonimmigrant Status for victims of certain crimes. Advocates who have previous training or experience with VAWA or U status cases will have an opportunity to learn about new legal developments, consider strategic issues for applicants and family members, and strengthen their ability to prepare successful applications for VAWA and U status and subsequent adjustment of status.

Webinar: Ethical Issues in Immigration Law
June 27, 2019 | 2 p.m. EST | Register Here

This webinar will focus on ethical issues in the practice of immigration law.  Topics covered will include the sources of legal ethics rules and to whom they apply, the most important ethics rules including duty of confidentiality, conflict of interest, and rules on communication and competence.  We will also examine the overlap of these rules with the Professional Rules of Conduct for Practitioners found in the immigration regulations which apply to attorneys and accredited representatives alike.

Webinar: Effectively Dealing with Program Transitions
Sep. 25, 2019 | 2 p.m. EST | Register Here

What do I do when my only staff attorney or DOJ accredited representative decides to leave our program? What if my Program Director doesn’t know immigration law? What if we lose our one big grant? Staff and resource transitions are not uncommon in the life of an immigration program. Unfortunately, not enough programs plan ahead to prevent from losing its ability to practice immigration law through an authorized representative when there’s staff turnover or when revenue streams fluctuate. We hope to address a few scenarios that programs have faced in our network, pinpoint the challenges, offer solutions, and share best practices on how to tackle them head on so services can continue without interruption.

In-Person Training: The Legal Advocates Perspective
March 2019 San Diego (Exact location and dates TBA) 

This two-day course is geared towards non-lawyer legal advocates who work with immigrant survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. Trainers will combine a basic overview of immigration law with an introduction to legal and case management skills. This training is designed to help prepare legal advocates to become accredited.

Self-Directed E-learning: Fundamentals of U.S. Immigration Law
Register at: and

This self-directed course provides a broad overview of U.S. immigration law in 90-minutes. Each of the seven sections of the course covers a core topic in immigration law. Available in English and Spanish.


OVW Archived Webinars

A list of archived webinars about CLINIC's Training and Technical Assistance to Building Legal Capacity to Combat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Immigrants

Ethical Issues in Immigration Law: Webinar / Slides (conducted on 5/18/2018)

OVW DOJ Recognition and Accreditation Under the New Rule Webinar / Slides (conducted on 1/22/2018)

OVW Grantee Intro Webinar / Slides (conducted on 12/11/2017)


About DOJ Recognition and Accreditation

If you are interested in learning more about DOJ recognition and accreditation please visit EOIR’s DOJ Recognition and Accreditation Program website page.

You can also access CLINIC’s DOJ toolkit which provides a step-by-step guide on how to apply and maintain agency recognition and staff accreditation found on our website.


Additional Resources

Violence Against Women Act Preliminary Self-Petitioning Screening Sheet

Sample Intake/Consultation Form (For VAWA/U Cases)

Chapter 5: Case Management Systems: Promoting Effective, Efficient Service Delivery of CLINIC’s Managing and Immigration Program: Steps for Increasing Legal Capacity Manual

ASISTA Immigration Assistance


OVW Grantee Page


This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-TA-AX-K017 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.