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  • LGBT Domestic Violence
  • Volume 11 | Summer 2008

from the chair

The Honorable Pamila Brown

Dear Colleagues,

I am excited to bring you this issue of our eNewsletter, featuring articles from experts in providing legal representation to victims of domestic violence who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT). The limited statistics available indicate that domestic violence in these communities occurs as frequently as it does in other communities; however, there are very few dedicated programs for this population, and LGBT survivors often are unaware of their legal rights and face unique challenges in attempting to access the justice system. We hope that this eNewsletter will encourage you to consider how the legal services that your office provides may be more accessible to LGBT survivors, if you havent already done so.

Last year, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and Criminal Justice Section launched a national project to increase leadership and training for attorneys regarding representation of LGBT victims of domestic violence. Over the last year, the Project has been led by Amanda Kloer, Project Coordinator, who has developed a clearinghouse of materials and information on legal assistance for LGBT victims. These materials are available at http://www.abanet.org/irr/enterprise/lgbt/. In addition, the Project has begun development of materials which we hope will be helpful to practitioners, including up-to-date information on protections available to LGBT survivors in civil protection order statutes, and a collection of law review articles analyzing increased access to remedies for survivors.

I am thrilled that two wonderful experts in this area have graciously agreed to provide articles for this eNewsletter. Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, gives us a helpful and specific overview of unique issues and remedies for LGBT clients in Civil Legal Remedies for Domestic Violence in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities. Then, Ben Lunine of the Transgender Law Center provides us with Transitioning Your Services: Serving Transgender Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking, a set of specific recommendations for better serving transgender clients. Additionally, we have provided links to all of the Commissions LGBT-specific legal resources in the eNewsletter, including an updated version of our very popular Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order Chart, summarizing the state-by-state availability of CPOs for LGBT petitioners.

As always, the Commission welcomes information from you regarding resources or promising practices on this critical area of domestic violence practice. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your work on behalf of survivors.

The Honorable Pamila Brown
Chair, ABA Commission on Domestic Violence