Our Stories

Advancing Justice for Women and Girls Thanks to the Generous Support of Audrey Irmas

Project Announcement

Dec 7, 2016

Public Counsel is excited to announce the establishment of the Audrey Irmas Project for Women and Girls’ Rights. This project is the result of a four-year, $1 million grant from the Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice.

During its 46-year existence, Public Counsel has provided a wide range of legal services for low-income women and girls. We represent girls who have been sexually exploited for commercial gain and who seek education and other supports, and we help them move towards stability and success as adults. We represent pregnant and parenting youth who are in foster care or have been involved in the juvenile justice system, and who need legal advocacy to secure their rights as parents. We help them complete their education, and help them access resources that will allow them to improve their lives and the lives of their children. We assist victims of domestic violence, including foster youth, who seek restraining orders, and immigrants who seek legal status to escape an abusive spouse or parent. Some of our clients are asylum-seekers who are victims of gender-based persecution in other countries. Still others are low-income women – mostly of color – who run home-based child care businesses and need help navigating their legal rights and responsibilities.

Grandmothers who step in to care for children when their parents cannot, and who have been denied the benefits and services they need to provide stability for these children, come to us, as do the caregivers of wounded veterans – the majority of whom are women. Victims of sexual assault in the military seek us out, as well as elderly women who have been defrauded of the few assets they have by unscrupulous telemarketers or home improvement contractors. Most recently, in partnership with Caldwell, Leslie, & Proctor, we filed a class action lawsuit challenging gender discrimination in California’s worker’s compensation system.

Audrey Irmas and Public Counsel

Audrey Irmas’ generous contribution will allow us to make our delivery of direct legal services to women and girls more holistic and effective, and permit us to greatly expand our systems change efforts on their behalf.  This project will strengthen and build on the organization’s existing work serving low-income women and girls, and will launch new efforts to advance justice for women and girls across the state. 

Public Counsel is committed to serving women and girls – who are striving to survive, to live with dignity and respect, and to secure a better future. We know that by supporting them, it makes our families, our communities and our nation stronger.