Sunday, November 22, 2015
From The Indianapolis Star:
More than 1,700 people who sought shelter to escape from domestic violence in Central Indiana didn't receive it, according to a report released Thursday.
The State of Domestic Violence in Central Indiana report, produced by the Domestic Violence Network, shows 1,743 people were denied shelter from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, because the agencies were over capacity and didn't have available beds. That is nearly triple the number of people who were denied temporary housing the year before.
"Housing continues to be our No. 1 obstacle," said Kelly McBride, executive director of Domestic Violence Network.
McBride said domestic violence agencies' resources are strained — with funding cuts, fewer staff members and victims who are staying longer in shelters because affordable housing isn't available elsewhere.
But Catherine O'Connor, president and CEO of the Julian Center, said people seeking help should not be discouraged by shelter limitations.
"We triage," she said. "If someone is in immediate danger, we’ll find a place for that person to be."
Read more here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
From Orlando Sentinel:
A Seminole County judge's decision to scold and sentence a domestic-violence victim to three days in jail for failing to testify against her attacker is raising questions about whether the case was handled appropriately.
The scene unfolded in Jerri Collins' courtroom in July as a sobbing woman tried to explain why she didn't attend the trial for the father of her 1-year-old son — even though a subpoena required her presence and the judge seated a jury.
"Your Honor, I'm very sorry for not attending …," said the woman. "I've been dealing with depression and a lot of personal anxiety since this happened …"
A video of the proceeding shows Collins, a former prosecutor who took the bench in 2006, retorting: "You think you're going to have anxiety now? You haven't even seen anxiety."
"You disobeyed a court order knowing that this was not going to turn out well for the state," she said.
As deputies placed the woman in handcuffs, she begged Collins for a different outcome. But the judge closed her binder and told the woman to "turn around." The Orlando Sentinel is not identifying her because it does not name victims of domestic abuse.
Read more here.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Major League Baseball can suspend players with pay when legal charges are pending in "exceptional cases" under a new domestic violence policy signed Friday.
The 13-page deal was signed Friday by the league and players' association and followed a series of high-profile domestic violence cases involving NFL players. The policy allows the baseball commissioner to issue discipline for "just cause," the same standard used under the sport's collective bargaining agreement. Discipline is not dependent on a criminal conviction.
"Major League Baseball and its Clubs are proud to adopt a comprehensive policy that reflects the gravity and the sensitivities of these significant societal issues," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "We believe that these efforts will foster not only an approach of education and prevention but also a united stance against these matters throughout our sport and our communities."
The commissioner can place a player accused of domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse on paid "administrative leave" for up to seven days before a disciplinary decision, which can be appealed to the sport's arbitration panel, chaired by an independent arbitrator. The commissioner also may defer a discipline decision until the resolution of criminal charges.
Read more here.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
A free hotline offering counseling to victims of domestic and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea was launched on Wednesday in response to widespread violence against women and girls.
The impoverished South Pacific nation is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a women due to gender-based violence, and did not make domestic violence a criminal offense until 2013.
Two-thirds of women and girls in Papua New Guinea are victims of physical or sexual violence during their lives, according to ChildFund, the charity which launched the hotline.
"Papua New Guinea has a staggering reputation for violence against women and children, particularly young girls," ChildFund CEO Paul Brown said at the launch in the capital Port Moresby.
The phone line will operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week, providing counseling, information, guidance and referrals for care at local services, ChildFund said.
Read more here.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Professors Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Donna Coker, Julie Goldscheid, Leigh Goodmark, Valli Kalei Kanuha, James Ptacek, and Deborah Weissman have spoken out about the Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA") reauthorization bill:
The VAWA reauthorization bill would extend funding for important services; provide additional
protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
would ensure that tribal courts have jurisdiction over domestic violence that occurs on tribal
land. We urge Congress to pass this bill!
But while we applaud much that is in the bill, we are concerned that like its predecessors, the bill
focuses a significant amount of funding on criminal justice responses and much less on economic
and racial justice initiatives that would support efforts to stop domestic violence. We urge
Congress to do more to address economic and racial inequalities that make poor women--
particularly poor women of color, undocumented women, and Native American women, more
vulnerable to intimate violence. We urge Congress to recognize that economic policies that
result in widespread unemployment and downward mobility increase domestic violence. We
further urge Congress to recognize that as important as criminal remedies may be for some
victims, a focus on criminal justice remedies will never be sufficient to empower women. Many
women who experience domestic violence do not want the current limited menu of criminal
justice responses. We urge Congress, therefore, to consider and support programs that explore
alternatives to the current criminal adjudication models, and that address the underlying causes
Download further remarks in PDF here:
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
From the New York Times:
TOPEKA, Kan. — The startling vote came up at a City Council meeting here on Tuesday, provoked by a run-of-the-mill budget dispute over services that had spun out of control: decriminalize domestic violence.
Three arms of government, all ostensibly representing the same people, have been at an impasse over who should be responsible for — and pay for — prosecuting people accused of misdemeanor cases of domestic violence.
By a vote of 7 to 3, the City Council repealed the local law that makes domestic violence a crime.
The move, the councilors were told, would force District Attorney Chad Taylor to prosecute the cases because they would remain a crime under state law, a conclusion with which he grudgingly agreed. The Council also approved negotiations to resolve the impasse.
Read more here.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Carey: "Correcting Myopia in Domestic Violence Advocacy: Moving Forward in Lawyering and Law School Clinics"
Camille Carey (Univ. of New Mexico School of Law) has posted "Correcting Myopia in Domestic Violence Advocacy: Moving Forward in Lawyering and Law School Clinics" (forthcoming Colum. J. of Gender & Law) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Lawyers and law school clinics have become myopic in their approach to civil domestic violence lawyering. This article argues that domestic violence lawyering should expand beyond its current focus on family law to move domestic violence law and practice forward. Drawing on theoretical frameworks from criminal law and feminist legal theory, this article proposes a lawyering model that expands individual representation across a wide spectrum of case types while also challenging systems that enable battering or do not support victims in their efforts to secure safety.
Holistic representation in family law, public benefits, immigration, housing, mortgage foreclosure, tort, and financial matters, among other substantive areas, better serves domestic violence victims and reveals systemic problems facing victims. By taking a dual approach – broad holistic representation of individual victims combined with law reform efforts directed at systemic issues revealed through broad direct representation – lawyers and law school clinics can move domestic violence advocacy forward.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Advocates for domestic violence victims are sounding the warning about a little-noticed U.S. Supreme Court case that they say could make it much harder for battered women and men to enforce restraining orders against their abusers.
Read more about this pending Supreme Court case here.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Advocates for abused women reacted with outrage Thursday after learning that a Baltimore County judge had enabled a 29-year-old man to be found not guilty of assault when he officiated at the marriage of the defendant and the woman he was accused of beating.
Another judge who waived the required 48-hour waiting period between the issuance of the marriage license and the wedding ceremony did not know the circumstances, according to that judge and a court official.
"It's appalling," said Lisae C. Jordan, general counsel for the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "We know to anticipate that behavior from batterers, but to have the judiciary involved in assisting a batterer is just appalling."
Frederick D. Wood had been charged with second-degree assault after his fiancee claimed that on Nov. 29 he hit her in the face, bloodied her nose, kicked her and banged her head against a wall at his home in Middle River.
But when the domestic violence case against him came up for trial on March 10, District Judge G. Darrell Russell Jr. allowed Wood to leave his courtroom in Essex to obtain a marriage license. Before the day was over, Russell married Wood and his fiancee in his chambers. The woman then invoked marital privilege so that she would not be required to testify against her husband, and Russell found Wood not guilty.
"Here's somebody who is clearly injured. And the authority figure, rather than acting neutrally or doing something to help protect her, pushed her into more entanglement with the alleged batterer," said Dorothy Lennig, longtime director of the legal clinic at the House of Ruth, which helps battered women and their children.
Read more here.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
France is set to introduce a new offense: psychological violence between married couples or partners living together. This is an unusual venture into regulating matters within a family. There is some concern, however, that the law will be abused and turn into a he said/she said debacle. Nonetheless, the numbers are sobering: almost 3 women die weekly in France after being assaulted by a partner or ex-partner. Read more here. For editorials on the subject, see here and here.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Some changes are planned in Chicagoland courts for the New
Year. From the
The chief judge of Cook County
Circuit Court is creating a domestic violence division to try to improve
communication among judges and ensure that abuse victims don't fall through the
Chief Judge Timothy Evans said he favors other recommendations made by a task force -- such as hiring new judges, strengthening sanctions against offenders and improving the intake of victims who turn to the court system for help. But he said he held off on those reforms until he gets more feedback from key players in the court system.
"There are no easy answers, but I want to make people safer," Evans said Tuesday.
The reforms come nearly a year after the Tribune found that certain victims had been killed by their abusers in spite of seeking legal protection and that less than one-sixth of domestic-violence cases brought each year in Cook County result in convictions.
Under the new domestic violence division to be launched in mid-January, all judges who handle domestic violence-related cases will report to a single presiding judge, Evans said.
Read more here.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Unfortunately, the holiday season is not all cheer:
A recent study by researchers at the
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Deborah Tuerkheimer (DePaul University College of Law) has published "Forfeiture after Giles: the relevance of 'domestic violence context'." 13 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 711-731 (2009). Here is the abstract from SSRN:
This contribution to Lewis and Clark's symposium issue on California v. Giles contemplates the future of domestic violence prosecution in a period of uncertainty. Giles, the United States Supreme Court’s most recent pronouncement impacting the prosecution of domestic violence, has exposed deep judicial ambivalence about the newly transformed Confrontation Clause. This Article endeavors to guide lower courts in the task of implementation and to chart a course for the evolution of prosecutorial treatment of battering, concluding that Giles represents a significant opportunity for those concerned about the constraints Crawford v. Washington and Davis v. Washington had seemed to place on the prosecution of abuse. For the first time, the Court has identified "the domestic violence context" as a relevant construct, thereby compelling lower courts to grapple with the particularities of violence between intimates. This is a remarkable shift in relatively short order, and it allows us to glimpse the possibility of a jurisprudence informed by the realities of battering.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sedillo Lopez: "A Medical/Legal Teaching and Assessment Collaboration on Domestic Violence: Assessment Using Standardized Patients/Standardized Clients"
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (University of New Mexico School of Law) has posted A Medical/Legal Teaching and Assessment Collaboration on Domestic Violence: Assessment Using Standardized Patients/Standardized Clients, 14 International Journal of Clinical Legal Education 61 (2009), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
article describes a collaboration between a law professor, emergency
medicine professors from the medical school, formative assessment
specialists, standardized patient training specialists, a community
attorney who specializes in domestic violence, and a teaching assistant
from the law school.
The group collaborated in developing scripts and scenarios for standardized patients and standardized clients who experienced the medical and legal problems related to domestic violence. They developed assessment criteria and used the standardized patients and clients as part of a Family Law class and the training for emergency room residents. This type of training and assessment is common in medical school training but unique in legal education.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
For those of you who like to incorporate celebrity family law disputes in your teaching, a copy of the actual restraining order issued against Chris Brown can be found at http://www.etonline.com/documents/et_cbrown_minuteandprotectiveorder_090306.pdf
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The legislature finds that considerable research shows a strong correlation between animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. The legislature intends that perpetrators of domestic violence not be allowed to further terrorize and manipulate their victims, or the children of their victims, by using the threat of violence toward pets.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Pursuant to the New York State Family Court Act, domestic violence civil protection orders are available to "members of the same family or household," including those "who are or have been in an intimate relationship."
Two recent New York state trial court cases have applied the "intimate relationship" language. In R.M.W. v.G.M.M, the court found that two women who bore children fathered by the same man have an "intimate relationship" for purposes of this statute. In K.J. v. K.K., the court found that a woman has an "intimate relationship" with her biological daughter, even though the woman had relinquished the girl for adoption eight years earlier.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Professor Sara Benson, fellow LawProf blogger, and currently visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, has posted to SSRN a draft of her article: "Failure to Arrest: A Pilot Study of Police Response to Domestic Violence in Rural Illinois." The article is explores the issue through focus-groups of survivors. Professor Benson notes that "it is important to consider law enforcement response to domestic violence calls because police officers often serve as the gateway to the legal community through first-response action." The article "points out the disparity between law and action in rural Illinois as detailed by the survivor narratives." The article then proposes a method of strengthening police responses to domestic violence calls in rural areas. bgf