Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – Assistant Attorney General Ben Hofmeister was honored with the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Award.
Each year, Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor presents this award to a member of the Alaska Bar who provides outstanding pro bono legal representation to victims of domestic violence.
The nonprofit, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, ANDVSA, recommended Hofmeister, based on his long and distinguished pro bono service.
“The Department is proud to have such a selfless and skilled colleague in our ranks,” said Attorney General Taylor. “Ben is cherished by those around him for his camaraderie, vast wealth of knowledge, and effortless cool. I couldn’t be more pleased to give Ben this award. Thank you, Ben, for your dedication to Pro Bono work.”
According to ANDVSA, Alaska’s statistics of domestic violence and sexual assault are staggering.
A survey through the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2020 found that nearly 60 percent of women in Alaska experienced intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Survivors often need civil legal services to end the violence, including divorce, child custody, and protection orders. ANDVSA receives applications for legal help from low-income survivors around the state.
In fiscal year 2023, ANDVSA fully served 163 survivors.
Despite relying on a network of staff, pro bono, and contract attorneys, the demand for help far outstrips ANDVSA’s ability to serve.
“Ben’s volunteer work with ANDVSA has been critical to ANDVSA’s efforts to fill this justice gap. Ben started volunteering to staff the ANDVSA Information & Referral Hotline in 2021 and has answered the Hotline more than 11 times. The Information & Referral Hotline is offered twice a month in 2-hour shifts. It is an opportunity for survivors to briefly speak to an attorney and get immediate guidance on where to go next for assistance,” said ANDVSA Executive Director Brenda Stanfill.
“I enjoy working with ANDVSA. It is a great organization that does a lot of really good work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Working with the clients is rewarding. I like being able to use certain legal skills to provide advice to the clients. But oftentimes the projects I get from ANDVSA involve working with people in crisis and helping them prioritize what they need to do in order to reach their objectives. As for receiving the award, I am surprised and humbled. It is nice to know that I am appreciated by all the amazing people at ANDVSA,” said Assistant Attorney General Ben Hofmeister.