Brittany Brooks

  • Hosted by Operation Sacred Trust
  • 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

Serving Our Sisters provided trauma-informed civil legal services to assist female veterans in South Florida trying to access resources and services vital to their financial and medical security. Brittany advocated for the benefits and rights of veterans who experienced military sexual trauma (MST). Through Operation Sacred Trust, Brittany prevented the homelessness of MST survivors, ensured income maintenance, and ensured access to vital medical care for those who served our country.

In addition to the struggles faced by all veterans, female veterans experience sexual assault, or military sexual trauma (MST), at a significantly higher rate than the general population. Thousands of veterans leave the military with less than honorable discharges due to the behavioral symptoms associated with MST and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When veterans receive less than honorable discharges, their access to veteran resources is severely limited or completely taken away, which may result in a lack of medical care and homelessness. Many have a difficult time discussing the trauma they experienced with lawyers who are unfamiliar with military culture and the high rates of MST, and many female veterans are not comfortable seeking assistance from the male-dominated VA health system. Finding services that are both veteran-specific and trauma-informed can be difficult. S.O.S. expands Broward County veterans’ access to legal support by providing a safe space that offers holistic legal services.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Brittany:
  • Provided full representation to more than 45 veterans in areas including discharge upgrades, VA benefits, SSI/SSDI benefits, housing, and debt relief
  • Provided brief services, advice, and/or referrals to over 60 veterans, including assistance in filing pro se answers and helping veterans understand their rights with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Landlords
  • Preserved the housing of many veterans at risk of homelessness
  • Gave multiple presentations to veterans on the rights of MST survivors, reaching over 3000 individuals
  • Worked with nine organizations and agencies to advance her advocacy efforts on behalf of veterans
  • Advanced coalition-building efforts to expand the reach and impact of her project, collaborating with 11 groups and attending nearly 30 coalition meetings
  • Provided training to the Operation Sacred Trust team on trauma-informed services
  • Raised awareness of the long-term consequences of MST and its effect on survivors

Next Steps

Following her Fellowship, Brittany will remain at Operation Sacred Trust’s legal services program as a Staff Attorney. Brittany will continue her advocacy on behalf of veterans and will be the go-to person for clients who experienced Military Sexual Trauma.


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