During the week, law students offered a series of presentations designed to educate participants about the psychological, social, economic and legal aspects of domestic violence. Seven women who participated in a year-long domestic violence project made presentations, along with another 26 students enrolled in QUCL’s new domestic violence clinic course. ABA ROLI specialists helped prepare students for the event, assisting with the design and printing of anti-domestic violence brochures. As domestic violence has traditionally been considered a women’s issue, the participation of six male students in the course demonstrates the evolving perception of the crime to one that is a family and societal issue, of importance to all Qataris.
The clinic course is an important development in efforts to combat domestic violence, and its syllabus covers practical legal skills such as interviewing and counseling, oral advocacy and legislative drafting. This focus on domestic violence is aligned with Qatar’s National Development Strategy, which calls for the development of a comprehensive plan to address domestic violence and the enactment of legislation criminalizing domestic violence. While focusing on development of lawyering skills, law school clinical programs also represent a commitment of the institution and the students in the clinic to work on important social issues and make essential improvements to legal systems that will empower the judiciary, government agencies, service organizations, lawyers and private citizens to tackle such issues in more efficient and effective ways.
For the past three years, ABA ROLI and MEPI have worked with the QUCL to improve legal education opportunities for both law students and practicing lawyers and to enhance the skills and leadership potential of women lawyers in Qatar. MEPI grants have supported wide-ranging cooperation between ABA ROLI and QUCL, resulting in a series of intensive skills training programs for new lawyers and a women's mentoring program that matched QUCL students with local attorneys.