Cielo is an LSV lawyer who helps people experiencing crimes like domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, identity theft, or abuse by someone else like a guardian or neighbor.
A lot of her time is spent helping clients get protective orders against abuse. In Vermont these are called Relief from Abuse (RFA) orders.
Cielo talks to her clients about any barriers to leaving an abusive situation, like what happens with finances and housing, and who will take care of the kids. Her clients often also need help with divorce and child custody.
“Sometimes people call and just want to learn about their options,” says Cielo. “I may keep a case open for a while to wait until they feel ready to take action.”
In addition to the legal help, Cielo refers victims of abuse and crime to partner agencies that can help with other needs. This includes coming up with a safety plan or getting emergency housing.
“It can take a long time for someone to reach out for help,” she says. “It’s important for people to know that they aren’t alone. There are resources and advocates who are ready to help.”
To protect anonymity and confidentiality of clients, names and some details in these stories have been changed.