skip to main content
Access to Justice Banner

Eugene Sergeev / Alamy Stock Photo

Access Justice Access to Justice

Winning Protection for Survivors
of Intimate Partner Violence

We won a spate of cases this year for survivors of violence and threats by their intimate partners. Here are some examples:

Our client “Rosa” suffered years of mistreatment from her partner, “Franco.” In 2021, after an evening of drinking at Franco’s apartment, Franco pinned Rosa to the ground and choked her. Fortunately, neighbors heard the fight and called the police, who arrived at the apartment and arrested Franco. Both Rosa and Franco testified at trial on Rosa’s application for a final restraining order. Franco claimed that Rosa’s injuries resulted not from any violence on his part, but from Rosa’s self-inflicted battering by pulling out her own hair and banging her head on the floor.

The trial court denied Rosa’s application on the ground that the court could not determine whose story to believe. Expressing long-discredited biases, the trial court also held that Rosa’s failure to leave the relationship sooner indicated a lack of fear. On appeal, we persuaded the Appellate Division to reverse. The Appellate Division concluded that the trial court had failed to make the required findings about the credibility of the parties’ testimony and had “deprecate[d] the cycle of domestic violence” by suggesting that Rosa’s continuation of the relationship demonstrated that she did not need protection. The Appellate Division remanded to “a different judge,” and after a new trial before a presiding judge of the Family Division, Rosa got the restraining order she needed.

Photo by Bernard DeLierre


Our client “Nina” experienced years of verbal and escalating physical abuse from her boyfriend, “Charles.” Five years after they began dating, they were living in Upstate New York when Nina learned that she was pregnant. Even though the relationship remained volatile and abusive and Charles had shown signs of alcohol and drug addiction, Nina agreed to get engaged and hoped that Charles’s behavior would change once their son “Leo” was born. It did not. After one incident in which Charles violently swung and shook Leo’s car seat with Leo in it, Nina fled their home with Leo and moved in with her sister in New York City. In September 2017, Nina filed petitions for custody and child support in New York County Family Court and sought a temporary order of protection. Through a referral from Her Justice, we began representing Nina in May 2018. The case was continually delayed by a dispute over where hearings should be held, repeated requests for adjournments from Charles, court closures caused by COVID-19, and dysfunction and inefficiency in New York’s family courts. While Nina had Leo most of the time and he was thriving in their new life in New York City, they experienced five years of uncertainty and ongoing harassment from Charles through various litigation tactics. With support and guidance from her lawyers, Nina was finally able to settle the case with primary physical custody of her son and ongoing financial support from Charles.


Our client “Farah” was blackmailed by her boyfriend after she broke up with him. He had secretly recorded the two of them having sex, and he threatened to send that video to her father. The defendant sent the messages and video to Farah by Snapchat and then deleted them, making it challenging to prove that the communications occurred. But Farah’s sister was there when the incident occurred and made a video of the defendant deleting some of the messages. The trial spanned two days and Farah was cross-examined at length, with the defendant trying to wear her down and get her to agree to abandon her claim for a restraining order. That strategy failed; Farah stayed strong through the end. We obtained the final restraining order, which included a specific provision that the defendant could not disseminate photos or videos of Farah.


For nearly six years, our client “Daria” was subject to ongoing physical, verbal, and sexual abuse by her boyfriend, “Felipe.” After Daria ended her relationship with Felipe for good, Felipe showed up at Daria’s workplace drunk, forced her into a car with him and two of his friends, demanded that she give him money to buy beer, and beat her with a closed fist on her head and face when she refused. After the beating, Felipe pushed her out of the car, and Daria fled to a nearby market and called the police. The police helped her secure a temporary restraining order. Less than a month later, Felipe showed up at Daria’s home in the middle of the night, crawled up to the second floor of the building where Daria and her children were asleep, and broke into Daria’s bathroom window. Daria, who had awoken with the noise of the break-in, immediately called the police while attempting to calm her startled children, who were crying and shaking in fear. After a painful three days of trial, in which Daria withstood three hours of cross-examination and three police officers testified on her behalf, the court granted the final restraining order. When Felipe moved the court to reconsider its decision, Lowenstein successfully opposed the motion. Today, Daria remains protected from Felipe’s abuse.

Photo by Bernard DeLierre