QUINCY — A new legal service held an open house Thursday, bringing three organizations together to support those in need throughout the area.
“We’ve already had some really good outcomes in family cases, because of this partnership, that clearly would not have been possible if the survivors hadn’t had their own attorney,” said Megan Duesterhaus, executive director of Quanada. “We’re already seeing safer conditions for children, more stable housing, and these partnerships are giving everyone better opportunities to work for their own safety.”
Quanada has partnered with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid and Ascend Justice to open the new office in Quincy. The three organizations have different specialties, but the primary focus is to support survivors of domestic abuse and violence.
Clarissa Gaff, executive director of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, said it’s the first time in around 30 years that the group has had a presence in Quincy.
“We would have been back as soon as humanly possible if we’d had the funding,” Gaff said. “We get a lot of calls from Adams County and the surrounding counties.”
Gaff said Lincoln Legal’s Alton offices receive hundreds of calls each year on their hotline number from Adams County and surrounding areas. Quanada alone has referred around 120 cases to the group in the past.
“Right now, this office is focused on sexual violence and gender-based violence cases,” Gaff said. “We’re hoping, with additional funding, to be able to help with other issues. We do some other work already, but it’s mostly advice through our hotline or help with attorneys from our Alton office.”
Margaret Duval is the executive director of Ascend Justice, the third partner in the new effort. Ascend focuses on other aspects of help that survivors may need.
“We’re able to offer help, for example, to survivors that