California nonprofit offers free plastic surgery domestic abuse victim

Domestic abuse survivor aims to ‘heal the lives’ of other victims by founding a nonprofit that provides them with free plastic surgery for their injuries

  • Los Angeles-based nonprofit Face Forward started in 2007 by founders David Alessi, a board-certified surgeon, and his wife, Deborah Alessi
  • Deborah was the victim of domestic abuse in a previous relationship 
  • The goal was to help two to three victims of violence per year with their injuries
  • But the organization has since grown where the organizers help two to three victims per month with the help of 12 surgeons who work pro-bono 
  • One woman sought out the organization after she was set on fire by her husband
  • Another man received help after he was the victim of an acid attack in the UK

A California nonprofit is offering free plastic surgery to domestic abuse survivors, victims of human trafficking and other suffers of violence to help them move on from their injuries.

Los Angeles-based nonprofit Face Forward first started in 2007 as a side project for founders David Alessi, a board-certified head and neck surgeon, and his wife, Deborah Alessi. The nonprofit was important to Deborah as she previously suffered from domestic abuse in a past relationship.

The nonprofit launched with the intention to provide pro-bono surgeries to sufferers of violence to improve their lives both physically and emotionally.

Helpful: The goal of the nonprofit is to provide free plastic surgery and emotional support to victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking and other violent acts
When I started Face Forward, it was very healing for me,’ Deborah told Allure. ‘I realized this was something kind of hidden — people don’t talk about it because there’s a lot of shame that goes with domestic violence.’
What started out as a small organization with the anticipation to help two to three victims per year quickly grew as interest spread.
The organization now has grown to have 12 board certified physicians who work pro-bono for victims throughout the year as well as a list of volunteer physicians. Face Forward tends to help an average of two to three people per month.
When speaking to Allure, the organizers revealed how about 70 per cent of the people they help are domestic abuse survivors.