Last year, FreeFrom called on the LA court system to make the small claims court experience safer for survivors. Many survivors do not pursue small claims against their abuser because they are unaware of it as an avenue to compensation. Those that do pursue small claims cases often face harassment and intimidation by their abuser during and after the hearing process, which can lead survivors to alter their testimonies and claims and not receive the full compensation that is due to them.
As FreeFrom works to increase awareness among survivors about their legal rights, we are also working to ensure that legal systems are sensitive to survivors’ needs.
By unanimous agreement, all four courts have adopted FreeFrom’s suggested policies, including:
- Allowing survivors to be separated from their abuser in the courtroom while they wait for their case to be called;
- Allowing survivors to exchange evidence with the defendant through the bailiff rather than be required to speak with their abuser directly; and
- Holding defendants in the courtroom once the case is called so that survivors have ample time to safely leave the courthouse.
Thank you to the city of Los Angeles for helping survivors feel safer pursuing economic justice in small claims court.