DV LEAP was founded in 2003 to respond to an urgent need for expert appellate litigation to reverse unjust trial court rulings and to protect the legal rights of women and children victimized by family violence. DV LEAP’s Founder had been litigating domestic violence and participating in extensive local and national law reform efforts for decades. Yet she and her colleagues began to see advocacy for battered women meet with increasing resistance in the courts.
In 2002 a D.C. Court of Appeals decision, United States v. Ba, concerning when and whether Civil Protection Orders (“CPOs”) can be enforced, engendered deep concern in the domestic violence community, and inspired DV LEAP’s Founder to intervene. This intervention resulted in an alliance with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and 6 domestic violence organizations, and ultimately resulted in an improved appellate decision.
This case crystallized the Founder’s recognition that the voices of domestic violence victims had been virtually absent at the appellate level and that speaking for victims at this higher level was critically needed to enforce their rights. She decided to launch DV LEAP.