The ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, founded in 1994, seeks to increase access to justice for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by mobilizing the legal profession. The commission focuses on addressing the need for well-trained and supported attorneys who provide representation to victims by creating and providing creative training opportunities for lawyers, law students, and other legal advocates.
Commission membership is by appointment only. However, there are many resources available for law students interested in learning more about domestic and sexual violence or in becoming victim advocates. For example, the commission offers several training sessions throughout the year on Domestic Violence 101. It also offers many free and discounted publications on its website about human trafficking, LGBT victims, and incorporating domestic violence into the legal classroom. For more information, see the website.
The commission is also working on a project for Domestic Violence Awareness Month that will focus specifically on law students. The commission will offer a DVD that will include a facilitator’s guide with questions designed to get law students a better understanding of the role technology can play in stalking. The program will be available to law students for use on their own campuses.
Finally, the commission offers its tenth annual Law Student Writing Competition. Law students are invited to submit articles addressing domestic violence and the law from a national or international perspective. The first-place award includes publication in the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, as well as a resolution from the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, and an honorarium. The second- and third-place awards will receive a resolution from the Commission and national publicity. All past and present winners’ names and papers appear on the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence website. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2013, at 5 p.m. EST. Submissions should be sent as a Microsoft Word file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions should further the legal needs of victims of domestic violence, their children, or advance efforts to address the incidence, causes, and effects of intimate partner violence. Submissions may be no longer than 7,500 words (typically 20–25 pages), including footnotes and other text but excluding author identifying information, and must be double-spaced with one-inch margins. Authors must be enrolled in an ABA-approved law school at the date of their submission, or may have graduated in December 2012 or May 2013. Submissions must not have been previously accepted for publication, or, if they have been, the first-place winner must certify that the first publication of the article will be in the Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law.