Erin Blasko | November 19, 2019
In addition to physical and emotional trauma, survivors of domestic violence often emerge from abusive relationships with criminal records, whether from drug or alcohol abuse or from the messy fallout of domestic violence, in which police and prosecutors struggle at times to separate victim from perpetrator, truth from fiction.
This makes it difficult for survivors to find housing and employment, with employers and landlords reluctant to hire or rent to people with criminal records because of restrictive state, local or federal laws or personal bias.
At the same time, some states exclude former felons from voting or from occupations such as nursing or cosmetology that require a license.
In an effort to address the issue, Chris Kozelichki, a former deputy prosecutor and now assistant director for career development at Notre Dame Law School, and 45 law students hosted an expungement clinic Oct. 29 (Tuesday) at the YWCA of North Central Indiana in South Bend.
From 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., Kozelichki and the students helped survivors of domestic violence navigate the expungement process for felony and/or misdemeanor convictions in Indiana free of charge, opening critical doors for the survivors while providing practical experience to the law students.
“This can improve (survivors’) lives in pretty demonstrable ways,” Kozelichki said of expungement, “and it’s actually not that hard of a process.”
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