A new Riverhead-based nonprofit is providing legal aid services to victims of domestic abuse, and sexual assault and violence on the East End.
Hope and Resiliency Long Island, founded in April by its executive director Pamela Greinke, provides legal advocacy and case management to victims to help them navigate through the complex court system during their cases.
“I have spent a number of years working between two other nonprofits doing this kind of work,” said Greinke, a former director of legal advocacy at the East Hampton-based crisis outreach center, The Retreat. “And I realized that with the explosion in population that we’ve had out here on the East End that there just really are more services needed.”
Domestic violence service providers have not been able to meet the demand for requests for their services, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. A one-day survey of domestic violence service providers in New York State conducted by the organization in 2020 found that approximately 19% of callers were denied services due to lack of resources by providers.
“I know that there’s more need than there are resources,” Greinke said. “And so I wanted to kind of fill in the gaps.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have reported experiencing sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
“Our primary offering is advocacy within the family court system and guidance through the court system, to kind of explain to someone how it works, because unless you’ve been there, you don’t know how it works,” Greinke said.
The organization also provides case management services, which includes helping victims file for crime victims compensation. Greinke said the organization hopes to expand beyond into covering the cost of legal representation and trauma centered counseling services. The organization currently refers clients to lawyers experienced in family and criminal court.
Currently, all the work being done in the organization is being done by volunteers, including Greinke. She said the organization is looking to raise funds to hire dedicated full-time staff members.
“I’m doing this in my time off from my job that pays my bills. So I want to be able to be 100% 24/7 available on this because it is my passion, it’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and so I wanted to be able to keep doing it,” Greinke said.
Greinke said the organization is taking cases from all around Suffolk County, but mostly serves people in Riverhead.
“Hope and resilience are both very positive words,” Greinke said. “because you have to have hope that you’re going to get out of a situation. And resilience, although some people look at it negatively — I don’t want to be resilient, I don’t want to be in this situation — resilience is something that comes about from being able to go through difficult situations, and come out strong on the other end.”
The organization does not currently have an office. Greinke said anybody in need of the organization’s services can contact her at the information below.
PO Box 1185
Riverhead, NY 11901
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