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The ABA’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence Works with the U.S. Department of Justice and agencies from across the nation to provide exceptional practice knowledge and training to lawyers representing the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The challenge for the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence is that, despite everything it has done, there is so much more to do.

-Mark Schickman, Chair

ABA training focuses on nuts-and-bolts information to help lawyers hone their skills and work within the law to protect their clients.

Securing a civil protection order is often the first step that a survivor takes in seeking safety from the abuser.  However, the vast majority of survivors seek a protection order without an attorney.   Lack of information and lack of resources both play a role in this.

With weekly webinars, local training and current case law and statutory materials, the Commission is poised to assist all lawyers who wish to volunteer in their communities.

The ABA’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence was a driving force in getting the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized in 2013.

“The night I left for good, the police officer who had responded several times before told me that if I returned to my boyfriend, he would be taking me to the morgue in a body bag the next time. Despite that, I still wasn’t sure I could stay away.” – Domestic abuse survivor

Numbers to know:

  • On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
  • Intimate Partner Violence alone affects more than 12 million people each year.
  • Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year.
  • 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

*Source from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

 

 


Living with Danger

In the time it takes to read this post, more than 25 people in the U.S. will have been raped, beaten or stalked by an intimate partner.

ABA’s Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence works with the U.S. Department of Justice and agencies from across the nation to provide exceptional practical knowledge and training to lawyers representing victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Micaela Deming, staff attorney for Ohio Domestic Violence Network, estimates that she’s taken every ABA course offered.

“I wanted to use the law in innovative ways to protect the survivors,” Deming said.  “The ABA is the only place I can look to to find support for the kind of law I want to practice.”

ABA training focuses on nuts-and-bolts information to help lawyers hone their skills and work within the law to protect their clients.

“Keeping survivors from their abusers is as close as you can get in the law to saving someone’s life,” Deming said.

Her clients are typically women.  Almost all of them have young children.   They endure frequent strangulation and repeated forced intercourse.  Their children witness the abuse and often become victims themselves.

Their stories follow a similar pattern, yet each are singularly heartbreaking.

“Big successes are few and far between,” Deming said.  “That one “big win” will have to get you through the next year and a half of no wins or really small wins.”

Although there is no single solution to intimate partner abuse, legal representation is the highest predictor of freedom from domestic violence.

Securing a civil protection order is often the first step that a survivor takes in seeking safety from the abuser.  However, the vast majority of survivors seek a protection order without an attorney

Survivors need access to expert, client-centered lawyers. And lawyers – legal aid, pro bono, or private attorneys – must have the training, tools and skills necessary to help victims.

Although Deming has specialized in representation of abuse survivors for more than 10 years, she is quick to encourage lawyers from all practice specialties to work for these clients.

With weekly webinars, local trainings and current case law and statutory materials, the Commission is poised to assist all lawyers who wish to volunteer in their communities.

“We see the civil legal needs of survivors everywhere,” she said.  “Every single type of attorney can help with this issue.”


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