The Tahirih Justice Center was founded in 1997 to represent women and girls seeking protection from gender-based human rights abuses. Partnering with an extensive network of pro bono attorneys, Tahirih provides legal services to protect clients from immediate danger, and to assist them in obtaining a variety of forms of immigration relief (including asylum), relief under the federal Violence Against Women Act, and visas for victims of human trafficking who are willing to cooperate with law enforcement. Tahirih’s staff attorneys have established significant expertise in these emerging areas of the law, maintaining a 99 percent success rate in the cases they handle. In addition to legal services, Tahirih provides case management support to clients, including safety planning, goal setting, and referrals to health and social service providers to help clients rebuild their lives. Tahirih leverages donated professional services from attorneys, medical professionals, and other experts to maximize the impact on the women and girls they serve.
Tahirih’s main office is in Northern Virginia, where it handles cases on behalf of women throughout the United States. In 2012, Tahirih established a full-time office in Baltimore, providing legal consultation, assessment, and representation for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and other harms. A social services program manager works with clients to develop safety plans, and provides referrals for counseling, shelter, food, medical care, and other resources. At the same time, Tahirih attorneys conduct public education and outreach activities to increase awareness and understanding of the unique obstacles faced by their clients.
In 2014, Tahirih’s Baltimore office litigated cases on behalf of 99 women, and provided brief advice and counsel to an additional 69 women. In addition, Tahirih staff attorneys provided training and technical assistance on the needs and rights of victims of gender-based violence to 525 lawyers, police officers, and other professionals. Unfortunately, the need for Tahirih’s services in Baltimore continues to significantly outstrip the office’s capacity. Tahirih’s attorneys add new clients as caseloads allow, while continuing to represent current clients whose legal cases remain in process. Due to the complexity of the cases, and significant delays in the Baltimore Immigration Court, the cases sometimes take a couple of years to resolve.