Saturday, March 29, 2014

Duquesne Presents "The VAWA and its Impact on the US Supreme Court and International Law"

As part of a statewide program to spotlight the Violence Against Women Act, Duquesne University School of Law is pleased to present a half-day program on the 20-year history of this Act, providing both a domestic and international focus.

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard several cases that directly or indirectly involve victims of gendered violence. Most of these cases have been the result of either legal issues raised under VAWA or increased state involvement as encouraged by VAWA. These cases have had mixed results. On occasion, the Court has recognized state complicity in the perpetration of gendered violence and how the law might impact those in abusive relationships. But more frequently, it has ignored or dismissed victims and has refused to recognize any affirmative state obligations to end gendered violence. These later cases contrast sharply with cases decided in international tribunals that have reframed gendered violence as a human rights issue.

In this continuing legal education course, keynote speaker Professor Cheryl Hanna (Vermont) will review some of the key Supreme Court cases in this area, and will then discuss cases from both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights to contrast current American and international approaches of ending violence against women and girls. She hopes to spark discussion and debate as to how advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court and in international law might evolve to better vindicate the rights of women in spirit in which VAWA was intended.

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