Catholic Charities New Hampshire received a $60,000 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Justice that enables the human service agency to continue to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes committed by U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
This is the second $60,000 grant awarded to Catholic Charities under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The funds allow the agency’s Office of Immigration and Refugee Services to help eligible immigrants obtain lawful status so they can escape the cycle of violence.
Obtaining legal residency allows survivors of domestic and sexual violence to end abusive relationships without fear of deportation. Receiving permission to work means they no longer have to rely on an abusive partner for support. VOCA services also protect immigrants who are victims of other crimes, such as human trafficking.
“It’s life changing for immigrant victims. They can live lives free of violence and threats. Victims can live independent lives, get employment authorization and support their children as well,” said Cathy Chesley, director of Catholic Charities Office of Immigration and Refugee Services.
“It also is in alignment with Catholic Charities’ mission to help the most vulnerable,” Chesley added.
The $60,000 enables Catholic Charities’ staff to serve at least 45 new clients during the one-year grant period that began July 1, 2017. Staff has assisted more than 400 immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault since 2008.
Catholic Charities Office of Immigration and Refugee Services is the only accredited agency that provides free legal services to low-income immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes in New Hampshire.