Pilot program to bring legal aid to domestic abuse accusers in Arizona

Arizona’s state court system is moving to help those who experience domestic violence obtain free legal assistance.

An administrative order signed Wednesday by Supreme Court Justice Robert Brutinel creates a pilot program to have a new type of worker provide legal advice to employees and clients of the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, which is located in Tucson.

Court officials say the new workers, called licensed legal advocates, would not be lawyers but would be trained and certified to provide advice on limited legal issues related to high-risk needs such as protective orders.

According to court officials, licensed legal advocates have to have a bachelor’s degree and at least 2,000 hours of work experience as a domestic violence advocate and complete a University of Arizona law college program to obtain state certification.