Pro bono work for domestic abuse victims

Interview with Kathy Coe, Founder and Director of the Pathway Project

The Pathway Project is a Staffordshire-based charity that offers support to women and men experiencing domestic and sexual abuse.

Its services include refuges, a 24-hour helpline, counselling and legal assistance. Kathy Coe founded the service in the late 1980s after experiencing domestic abuse and finding that the support available was limited. 

The Pathway Project offers work experience for Derby Law School students, and its employees have also given talks to students about the organisation’s work and about the field of domestic and sexual abuse.

We talked to Kathy Coe about the pro bono work that students have been undertaking and asked what benefits it is bringing.

How have Derby Law School students been working with the Pathway Project?

“The students that come to us do a variety of work but predominantly assist our lawyers with the legal clinics, which we run each week. They also support service users and staff in applying for non-molestation and various other orders, and complete paperwork such as divorce papers. In addition, they support our clients through the court process.”

How has this work benefitted your organisation and your clients?

“For the service users, it has meant that the cuts in services due to the changes in Legal Aid, have had less impact than they would have otherwise. We are providing a much-needed service to people in painful and often scary situations, in a way that would not be possible without the students.

“Also, having students working alongside staff is a great way of keeping up to date with the latest legislation and learning. Knowledge and experience are shared in both directions.”

What is your overall impression of Derby Law School?

We love the way that Derby Law School engages with the community and builds relationships. We have found everyone there really helpful and supportive, and open to new ideas and true partnership. We are really fortunate to have this brilliant relationship.”

Pathway Project Director, Kathy Coe, talks to a colleague in her office “We are providing a much-needed service to people in painful and often scary situations, in a way that would not be possible without the students.”

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