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Each year, one in four women will report violence at the hands of an intimate partner during her lifetime. Funding from North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Act provides legal aid to help more than 4,850 domestic violence victims and their children escape abuse and rebuild their lives. Together with other sources, Legal Aid of North Carolina and Pisgah Legal Services utilize funding though the Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Act to provide domestic violence legal services statewide.

Legal aid plays a pivotal role in helping victims of domestic violence escape abuse. Caroline’s story provides just one example of the many North Carolinians served each year due in part to this critical funding source. After years of enduring isolation, physical violence, and threats that he would kill them all, Caroline left the father of her three girls and got a protection order. Unfortunately the abuse didn’t end there.

One night, her abuser saw them driving through town. He began to tailgate them dangerously as Caroline tried desperately to get them to her parents’ house. She says, “He was trying to spin us out by hitting my back tire.” One of her daughters cried, “Daddy is going to kill us!” Caroline managed to get them all to safety, then she called 911.

Caroline knew she had to do more to protect her girls. She came to Pisgah Legal Services for help. Attorney Julia Horrocks helped Caroline get sole legal custody of the girls. “It felt good to have the support of an attorney.” Their abuser was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and violating the protection order. He went to jail.

Today the girls are doing better in school, attending church, and joining after-school activities—things their father never allowed. Caroline is starting a new chapter, too. She credits her strong faith for helping her get through difficult times. “I used to pray that someday I would have the strength to get away from him. My attorney made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”