Brittany Brooks

  • Hosted by Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, Inc
  • Sponsored by The Florida Bar Foundation
  • Service location Plantation, Florida
  • Law school Florida International University College of Law
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Brittany provides trauma-informed civil legal services and outreach to assist female veterans in Broward County reintegrate into civilian life and access resources vital to their financial and medical security.

Female veterans have a unique set of needs that often go unmet, including experiencing sexual assault, or military sexual trauma (“MST”), at a significantly higher rate than the general population.  For example, in 2018, the Department of Defense received over 7,600 reports of MST involving service members. Many of these women develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other behaviors to cope with the trauma they experienced, and these behaviors can result in a less than honorable discharge. Having a “bad discharge” means a veteran does not get the benefits available to other veterans, often goes without medical attention, and may end up homeless. With assistance in applying for a discharge upgrade, veterans can experience increased economic stability, improved physical and mental health, and better family life, as well as allowing vital resources to be accessed.

As a female veteran and former social worker, I have seen first-hand how my fellow sisters in arms can fall through the cracks and end up without the services they earned when they volunteered to protect our country. In a male-dominated career field, we often feel invisible. Through this project, I want to make sure that no female veteran feels invisible or left behind.

Fellowship Plans

The Serving Our Sisters program will improve veterans’ lives by providing a holistic, trauma-informed legal clinic to meet the many needs of female veterans. The project will assist with discharge upgrades, benefits applications, family law matters, and other legal issues that clients present. The project will assist with income maintenance and provide a safe space for female veterans to get the assistance they deserve.

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