For more than a quarter century, the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence (CDSV) has focused on mobilizing the legal profession to improve access to justice and safety for victims of domestic and sexual violence. In that time, the Commission has provided countless individual consultations with local attorneys and programs to improve their practice, and has regularly hosted multiday in-person national training institutes and national teleconferences, webinars, and virtual institutes focusing on critical legal issues raised when representing victims of domestic and sexual violence, including custody litigation, effective use of interpreters in legal settings, LGBTQI+ client representation, legal needs of clients with disabilities, “DV 101” for lawyers, legal intensive trial skills, and intimate partner sexual violence for lawyers.
CDSV addresses the acute need to increase the number of well-trained and supported attorneys providing representation to victims by providing in-person, web-based, and telephonic technical assistance and continuing legal education opportunities for attorneys, law students, courts, and allied legal professionals, and by collaborating with other ABA entities and national organizations to improve the systemic legal response to domestic and sexual violence.
CDSV training events focus on reaching a wide range of learners, and as such are experiential and activity-based with minimal lecture, following highly detailed and researched staff-developed curricula. Such an approach requires facilitation by experienced and knowledgeable civil attorneys and judges. CDSV routinely works with individuals (as volunteers or as contractors) with expertise in these areas as Faculty Facilitators to collaborate with full-time CDSV staff during local, state, and national virtual and in-person events.