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Heather TaylorIt’s no secret that we are facing one of the greatest periods of need for asylum-seeking women and children, as well as their families, both nationally and globally. Greater DC has seen an influx of women and children fleeing gang and gender-based violence in Latin America who have migrated to this area in recent months upon their release from family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.

Our army of supporters and community partners are key to helping these refugees access the justice that they’re entitled to. This past year, Greater DC was honored to train over 2,700 legal, medical, social services, and other dedicated professionals to meet the needs of courageous women and children fleeing violence in our region.

In response to the recent surge, Tahirih Justice Center’s legal and social services staff, soon to include an Equal Justice Fellow, will train pro bono attorneys and other professionals representing Central American refugee families who, after fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence, are often further traumatized by the jail-like centers in which they were held.

The ICE raids conducted at the onset of the New Year to round up and deport Central American families living in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, have also further traumatized our clients despite their having bona fide claims for humanitarian relief.

Looking ahead in 2016, in addition to expanding our outreach, we will enhance our existing trainings by further developing our curriculum on the provision of trauma-informed, culturally sensitive services to meet the needs of our demographics.

It’s no secret that there’s plenty of injustice in the world. But Tahirih will continue to partner with local officials and community members to ensure that innocent people remain protected by the law. We will continue to support national advocacy on behalf of the courageous women and girls who fight for the right to live in safety, and with dignity.

*If you’d like to learn more about the lifesaving work we’re able to accomplish with our community partners, please join us at our 2015 Year-In-Review on March 17, 2016!