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Seattle U law students helping domestic violence survivors file protection orders

Law students are helping survivors of domestic violence file protection orders during a time of increased stress and abuse.

Seattle University law students are helping survivors of domestic violence file protection orders during the coronavirus pandemic. 

For some people, staying home isn't necessarily staying safe. 

"Because there's been an uptick in the number of cases of domestic violence, there's more of a need to help victims of domestic violence fill out the domestic violence protection order petitions," said Deirdre Bowen, a law professor at Seattle University. 

Bowen created a new pop-up clinic that allows law students to help domestic violence survivors file protection orders in King County. 

"Most people who are in this position, are in a period of extreme stress and don't necessarily have the ability to do a deep dive into the website," said Bowen. 

King County courts partnered with LegalAtoms.com in early April to offer online legal protection filings. 

"They can go straight to the chat function, anonymously ask questions, and that's particularly where our students are serving," said Bowen. 

Now, law students will be able to help with the influx of survivors reaching out for help with legal documents. 

"This is really the time that we can use our skills and our time that we have at home to help people who are in the most mean, and obviously these people are really needing our help right now," said Ashli Tagoai, a Seattle University law student. 

Law students will only help with the filing process, they don't have the ability to give any legal advice. 

Since the pandemic started, LegalAtoms.com has noticed a 400% increase in website traffic. 

The online filing system sees an average of five domestic violence protection orders filed per day. 

Right now, only King County is partnering with LegalAtoms, but other counties are reaching out to offer the same e-filing option. 

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