What We Do


JusticeMatters provides preventive and restorative direct legal services

in humanitarian immigration law, family law, and other civil matters through a team of staff and volunteer attorneys.  We also provide community education, professional training, and policy consulting on issues affecting our clients.



Protecting the Vulnerable


JusticeMatters assists children who’ve been abused, neglected, abandoned, or are otherwise dependent on the court system, solidify a legal connection to a family that loves them. This provides the legal permanency children need in order to grow up in a safe, stable environment and unlocks access to the educational and medical services children need in order to thrive. We also assist abused, neglected, or abandoned undocumented minors to obtain legal status in the United States. Our services reduce the risk of these children entering the foster care system and reduce their vulnerability to traffickers, gangs, and others who would exploit them.

 

Our services empowered Charles and Elise* to gain legal custody of their niece Kaylee*, whose dad was incarcerated and mother was unable to care fo rher due to substance abuse issues. Kaylee is now growing up in the care of her aunt and uncle who love her, and is attending elementary school with her cousins.

 

Our services empowered Mateo*, an undocumented child in our community, to come out of the shadows and obtain the help and services he needed to heal from past trauma as well as work authorization and a driver license. Today, Mateo is in therapy and can work legally to provide for himself and his family, incentivizing him to stay in school and pursue higher education and productive employment.

 

*Names changed to protect confidentiality.


Restoring Survivors


JusticeMatters helps clients obtain humanitarian immigration visas that are available to survivors of human trafficking, crime, and other abuse. For many of our clients, obtaining a visa is a crucial step after their rescue or escape. A visa enables them to remain safely in the U.S., grants work authorization so they can start providing for themselves, unlocks access to ongoing medical and mental health services, and grants hope of eventual reunion with their families – important steps as our clients move forward on their path to restoration, rebuilding their lives and reengaging in our community.


Core Legal Services

Humanitarian Immigration

Our neighbors come to the Triangle from all over the world, some for high-power jobs or further education and some because they are survivors of war crimes, religious persecution, or extreme poverty. JusticeMatters provides humanitarian immigration services to foreign national survivors of human trafficking, crime, domestic violence, abuse, and exploitation.

Anti-Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which women, men, and children are exploited for labor, services, or commercial sex acts through force, fraud, or coercion. Of the estimated 27 million individuals in forced labor or prostitution worldwide, around 14,500 to 17,500 are trafficked into the U.S. yearly and 25% of these victims end up in the Southeast. U.S. citizens are trafficked as well – by conservative estimates, over 100,000 American children are trafficked within the U.S. each year. North Carolina has one of the highest rates of trafficking in the U.S. by state. JusticeMatters assists survivors with their civil and immigration legal needs, empowering them to rebuild their lives. We also help our clients navigate the complex criminal justice system as they participate in the prosecution of their traffickers.

Family Law Matters

Family situations can be complicated, requiring costly assistance from attorneys and the court system to ensure a child’s opportunity to grow up in a safe, stable home. JusticeMatters provides high-quality, affordable family law services on an income-based sliding scale to help caregivers gain the authority they need in order to make legal, medical, and educational decisions for children in their care. We provide consultations to clients dealing with domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues in their families. We advise parents in planning for their children’s futures in the event of parental deportation. We represent adoptive parents in the adoption of children. These services improve the lives of individual children and families as well as the quality of our community as a whole.

Civil Matters

Over 80 percent of the civil legal needs of the materially poor go unmet in North Carolina today, jeopardizing housing, employment, safety, and even family relationships. By providing access to high-quality, affordable civil legal services JusticeMatters helps empower our marginalized and vulnerable neighbors to engage productively in the community.


Leadership in Statewide Anti-Trafficking Efforts


North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission

In 2014 JusticeMatters’ Executive Director, Libby Coles, was appointed by Governor McCrory to chair the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission. Established by the General Assembly in S.L. 2013-368, the Commission was given broad powers to further anti-trafficking efforts in North Carolina. Among other accomplishments, the Commission has won approval for mandatory training on human trafficking for all certified law enforcement officers statewide in 2016.

To receive public notices of upcoming Commission meetings, email HTC[at]ncdoj.gov.


North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Our Executive Director serves on the Executive Committee for the North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NCCAHT), a statewide network of public and private agencies and organizations that combats human trafficking at a systemic level.

As a member of the Rapid Response Team of the Triangle, JusticeMatters assists foreign national and U.S. citizen survivors of human trafficking with their legal needs and collaborates with service providers and law enforcement to ensure that our clients receive comprehensive case management, social services, and assistance navigating the complex criminal justice system.

Our staff is available to conduct community outreach and training for legal professionals, law enforcement, service providers, agencies, and groups so that together we can better identify and serve survivors of human trafficking in North Carolina.


Services

Representation

Our staff and volunteer attorneys provide legal representation to eligible individuals in a range of civil and immigration legal matters. Click here for more information about the possibility of obtaining representation for yourself or someone you know.

Referrals

We provide referrals to other legal and/or social service providers for individuals in need of assistance beyond the scope of our services.

Legal Clinics

Our staff and volunteer attorneys provide confidential, limited* legal consultations and brief legal services to eligible individuals at legal clinics hosted by partner organizations. Our attorneys seek to empower clients to address their legal problems without further representation. If a client appears to need representation beyond the scope of the consultation, we inform the client and do our best to provide a referral to a private lawyer, a free legal services provider, or a non-profit lawyer referral network for further assistance. Or, the client may seek representation by JusticeMatters.
Most legal clinics are offered specifically for clients of the host organization, though some are open to the public. Contact us if your organization is interested in collaborating to offer a legal clinic.
* Short-term legal services without expectation by either the lawyer or the client that the lawyer will provide continuing representation in the matter.

Community Education

Our staff and volunteer attorneys provide preventive and empowering presentations about the law, the legal system, and legal resources at events hosted by partner organizations. These presentations are tailored to provide information and resources that are particularly relevant to the clients, community, and/or staff of the host organization. Past presentations range from “Know Your Rights as an Immigrant” (a presentation in Spanish for Latino immigrants) to “Child Custody and Child Support” (a presentation for staff and volunteers of a service provider for women facing unplanned pregnancy).
Most events are designed and offered specifically for the clients, community and/or staff of the host organization, though some events are open to the public. Click here to see a calendar of upcoming clinics. Contact us if your organization is interested in collaborating to offer a community education event.