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Volunteer advocates needed to help survivors of violence

No legal background or prior training is required to volunteer.
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YOUNGSTOWN — The Volunteer Advocacy Legal Unit at the Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court, 120 Market St., is seeking volunteers to assist victims who are ready to end the cycle of violence.  

Legal Aid provides training for anyone who is interested in becoming part of the VALU team. The training covers legal proceedings and techniques for working with victims of violence.

“Our volunteers work with people who are in crisis and need help finding safety and stability in their lives,” Shatiqua Lyons, a paralegal at Community Legal Aid who coordinates the VALU program, said in a news release.

Volunteers bring clarity, calm and assurance to victims by offering their support, Lyons said. They help survivors through the process of asking the court for a temporary protection order.

“Having someone by your side during this process can bring courage and comfort,” Lyons said.

VALU has been serving the community since 1991. It is a cooperative program between Legal Aid and Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court.

Judge Beth A. Smith, who presides over the Domestic Relations Court, stressed the benefits the program provides to both the court and the victims it serves.

“The VALU program, providing advocates for survivors of domestic violence, is essential to the effective issuance of civil protection orders,” Smith said.

No legal background or prior training is required to volunteer. Those interested in becoming a volunteer or learning more about the program should contact Legal Aid at 330-983-2573.