CDV eNewsletter logo
  • Volume 8 | Summer 2007

commission activities and programming

Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Civil Protection Order Cases Adopted by American Bar Association

After over two years of planning and development, the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, with its partners the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs; Texas RioGrande Legal Aid; the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women, American Prosecutors Research Institute, National District Attorneys Association; and the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice are proud to announce that the American Bar Association (“ABA”) House of Delegates has adopted the black letter Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking (“the Standards”). Full text versions of the black letter policy adopted by the ABA and the Standards with commentary for guidance are available on our website.

The goals of the Standards of Practice are: (1) to improve the quality of legal representation of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; (2) to enable lawyers to effectively, ethically, and holistically represent victims in civil protection order cases; and (3) to raise awareness about the need for high-quality representation for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in civil protection order cases. Our hope is that the Standards will be integrated into trainings for new and/or pro bono attorneys representing victims in protection order cases and provide guidance for organizations advocating for victims of domestic violence. The Commission is available to provide assistance with integration of the Standards or developing trainings for attorneys using the Standards.

Many people contributed to the development and adoption of the Standards and we are deeply indebted to them for their insight, patience, dedication and assistance. In addition to the work of our partners, we also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the members of the Steering Committee, attendees of the Working Group meetings, Commissioners and Liaisons of the Commission on Domestic Violence, and other staff and members of the ABA who contributed valuable insight and expertise into this project.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Activities

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognition, the Commission on Domestic Violence is hosting a series of workshops on domestic violence and the law at our Washington, DC offices. Materials from the presentations will be posted on our website at the end of the series.

Elder Abuse and DV in Later Life
Presented by Rebecca Henry, Senior Staff Attorney, ABA Commission on Domestic Violence
Wednesday, October 3, 2007 • 12:00 p.m. -1:30 p.m. EDT

The National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act
Presented by Louisa Terrell, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 • 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Domestic Violence and Islamic Law
Presented by Irfana Anwer, Co-Director Family Law Division and Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
Wednesday, October 17, 2007 • 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Civil Remedies for Human Trafficking Victims
Presented by Charles Song, Legal Director, Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 • 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT


Commission Chair Pamila Brown Honored by ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

On October 5, Judge Pamila Brown, our own Chair, was presented with the “Breaking Barriers” Award at the Difference Makers Awards Dinner of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division in Philadelphia, PA. The “GP Solo” Difference Makers Awards are awards for local attorneys whose dedication has made a difference to the profession or the community. Rather than recognizing solo/small firm lawyers or those working in the solo/small firm sections of local and state bars, these awards are intended for big firm lawyers, educators, judges, and others who fulfill one of four award categories. The “Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers” Award recognizes attorneys living or deceased who have broken barriers for gender, color, disabilities or sexual orientation.

We are so proud of Judge Brown and all she has done for the Commission and for the bench and bar, and so pleased that her hard work and dedication has been publicly recognized. Congratulations Pamila!

ABA Domestic Violence Education in China

For many years, the Commission on Domestic Violence has worked closely with the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in Asia, providing access to resources and experts on domestic violence and the law from the US. In 2000-2001, the Commission co-hosted a mock trial of a domestic violence case in Beijing, and in 2003, the Commission was fortunate to host a lawyer from Beijing for 6 months.

This summer, Commission Staff Director Robin Runge was asked to travel to China and work with the ABA Asia staff to continue this work. Over a busy period of 10 days, Robin met with judges from across the country at a national judicial training hosted by the Research Office of the Supreme People’s Court, People’s Republic of China in Beijing, providing information about how the U.S. legal system has attempted to address many issues that they are seeing now (including mediation in family law matters, the possibility of passing a civil protection order statute, and issues of evidence of domestic violence in divorce and other family law cases where there is no physical evidence and no witnesses). She also presented at a national training for domestic violence victim advocates about U.S. family violence/domestic violence councils and how those came into being and what they have done as they explore mechanisms for collaboration in their communities. Finally, Robin met with attorneys attempting to develop attorney training materials for representation of trafficking victims in civil cases, in anticipation of working with them as we undertake our own trafficking project in the next year.

ABA Judges’ Journal Highlights Domestic Violence

The Judges' Journal, published quarterly, is the magazine of the American Bar Association Judicial Division, published for judges, lawyers, and others interested in the courts and how they operate. This is the nation's outstanding judicial journal and is the authoritative source on innovations for the judicial system.

The latest issue focuses on Domestic Violence and Youth at Risk, featuring an introduction by Commission Chair Hon. Pamila Brown (“Judges Can Help Break the Cycle of Domestic Violence and Its Impact on At-Risk Youth”) and an interview with Acting Director of the Office of Violence Against Women Mary Beth Buchanan by Commission Director Robin Runge (“Comprehending the Link Between Domestic Violence and Children”). The issue also includes articles regarding teen dating violence and restorative justice approaches for youth at risk.

For subscription information, visit the ABA Judicial Division's website.