Lisa Cope Duflock, Staff Attorney

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pro Bono Project team was busy brainstorming new ways to reach out and help community members in need of our services. Recognizing the usefulness of YouTube as an outreach tool, the staff self-produced and launched a series of instructional videos on the Pro Bono Project Silicon Valley YouTube channel, providing information and assistance to individuals seeking help with domestic violence restraining orders, and child custody and visitation orders. The next series of videos will focus on the procedure and instructions for record clearance for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Our published video series on Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (“DVROs”) explains how to request a DVRO from the court, including the important step of how to write an effective declaration in support of a DVRO. The DVRO series also includes how to serve a DVRO on the restrained party, as well as information on enforcement and renewals of DVROs. The video series actually explains how to fill out application forms, ensuring that individuals watching the videos are well-informed. Finally, the DVRO series culminates with a video de-mystifying DVRO hearings and ensuring individuals are prepared on the day of their hearing.

Similar to the DVRO video series, the videos regarding child custody and visitation orders explains how to complete the custody and visitation forms as well as how to file and serve them on the other party. The videos also look at child custody and visitation mediation hearings, giving individuals the tools and information needed to prepare and represent themselves at the mediation.  The upcoming videos on expungement will explain how individuals can obtain their Records of Arrests and Prosecutions (RAP) sheet.  The presentations will give a comprehensive overview of what expungement is and the benefits of applying to have one’s convictions expunged.  Other videos will explore how to prepare petitions to expunge a criminal record and how to prepare for the expungement hearing.

The Pro Bono Project is excited about the number of people who can be reached and assisted by the new content on the YouTube channel. Managing Attorney Rachel McKenzie notes the importance of the YouTube channel videos “as a resource to help guide parties through the process of completing the necessary filings and the court system.”  Court filings can often be overwhelming and the content on the YouTube channel attempts to break down the DVRO and child custody and visitation process into manageable pieces, helping viewers achieve their desired outcomes.