Although many African American IPV survivors need services, they often do not access care. Hopelessness may partially explain low rates in help-seeking for this population and serve as a significant barrier to care for African American IPV survivors particularly those who have had prior legal system involvement. In a sample of 185 African American women, we first examined whether hopelessness mediated the relation between IPV and barriers to services. If such a mediation effect was found, we then would explore whether legal system involvement moderated the mediated effect of hopelessness on the relation between IPV and barriers to services. As anticipated, hopelessness partially served to explain (i.e., mediated) the relation between IPV and barriers to services. Further, this mediated effect was moderated by legal system involvement such that when legal system involvement was included as a moderator, hopelessness mediated the association between IPV and barriers to services only for those survivors who had been involved with the legal system. These results underscore the critical role of hopelessness as a barrier to accessing services for African American IPV survivors, especially those with prior involvement with the legal system. Recommendations are offered that underscore the importance of interventions that empower African American women who have survived violence instead of penalizing them.