Spotlight: Professor Lisa Young, Australian Family Law Scholar

By: Danielle Edrich

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to sit down with Professor Lisa Young, an Australian family law professor, and talk about some of the differences in family law between the United States and Australia. Young has focused her career in family law as a practitioner, professor, and researcher for more than 20 years, and is currently Dean of Research as well as an Associate Professor at Murdoch University School of Law in Western Australia. She is also the current editor of the Australian Journal of Family Law, Australia’s premier family law journal, and is co-author of Family Law in Australia, one of Australia’s principal family law treatises. Young also has been working with the Commonwealth’s Child Support Agency for 16 years, where she routinely hears and decides cases. Before getting into academia, Young was a commercial and family law practitioner. She mentioned that although she ultimately ended up in academia, practicing law was a valuable experience that gave her a “real-world” understanding of the law.

As Dean of Research at Murdoch, Young has been speaking with law schools throughout the world to gain an understanding of what programs and ideas their students are interested in pursuing so that she can further develop a thriving program for her students in Australia. She is also interested in looking for connections her school can build with other law schools. Furthermore, as Young is a family law scholar, she was very interested in learning about family law in the United States and how it compared to Australian law.… <Read More>


Weekly Round-up September 29th, 2014

Pilot Program to Prevent Domestic Violence:

  • Brooklyn District Attorney, Kenneth Thompson has launched a program into domestic violence prevention. Prosecutors will examine all domestic violence cases to determine if there is a high risk that the offender will murder the victim. The District Attorney’s Office received a grant of $650,000 to run this program from the Department of Justice.
  • For each domestic violence case, the prosecutor will assess the defendant’s behavior against a tool called Danger Assessment, developed by Jacquelyn Campbell at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. The Danger Assessment uses factors such as whether the defendant owns a gun, if the defendant employed, and whether there have been incidents of violence in the past. If the defendant scores high on this assessment, the prosecutor will pass the case on to a special team consisting of representatives from the district attorney’s office, the police department, and Safe Horizon, a group providing assistance to domestic violence victims. This group will weigh the defendant’s threat level and recommend that the defendant stay in jail if they pose a high risk of repetitive, lethal violence.

Immigration:

  • From May to August, an estimated 40,000 migrants entering the U.S. in family units were apprehended at the border. However, because there was not enough space to keep individuals in detention, many of them were given the opportunity to stay with family members in the U.S. as they continued to go through deportation proceedings.
  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has stated that 70 percent of the people apprehended at the border and then released, have not reported to the agency, even though they were told to do so.
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Weekly Round-up September 22nd, 2014

It’s On Us – Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign:

  • On Friday, President Obama launched the It’s On Us Campaign, a campaign aimed at including the public in preventing on-campus sexual assaults. It calls on bystanders to speak up if it appears that someone is the victim of a sexual assault or to step in if it appears that someone is unable to consent to sexual activity.  It calls on everyone to take responsibility in creating an atmosphere in which sexual assault will not be tolerated. This campaign is in addition to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, initiated by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in January to work with universities to combat sexual assaults on campuses. In 2011, The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights provided guidance to colleges and universities to illustrate the responsibilities of these institutions to promote educational environments for students that are free from sexual harassment and sexual assault in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  • It’s On Us includes PSA videos featuring celebrities such as Jon Hamm, Kerry Washington, and Kevin Love. The NCAA, Big Ten, and Pac-12 have all joined in the movement pledging to spread awareness. The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women will award $6 million to 18 colleges to develop programs designed to prevent campus sexual assaults and to provide services for victims.

 

HeForShe and Gender Equality:

  • World leaders are gathering at the United Nations (UN) this week for the UN General Assembly meeting and one of the topics on the agenda is: gender equality.
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The Violence Against Women Act: Twenty Years Later

By: Mallory McGee

On September 13, 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed and this past Saturday marked twenty years since the groundbreaking legislation took the first step in acknowledging and combating the epidemic of violence against women. At the time the law was passed, Vice President Joe Biden was a U.S. Senator, and he helped advocate for the legislation and push it along to President Clinton.

The Act recognized the need for stronger stalking laws, provided legal remedies for battered immigrants, and forced states to honor orders of protection issued by other states.  Funds were allocated for shelters, victim counseling, prevention education, and to assist law enforcement in properly handling domestic violence cases to lead to successful prosecutions and convictions. These programs are known as STOP programs – “Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors.”

Following VAWA, in 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women was created to work within the Department of Justice to process grants and to handle any legal and policy changes surrounding violence against women. In 1996, the National Domestic Violence Hotline began providing victims of abuse with an outlet to provide support and advice, especially in situations that may be particularly volatile.

VAWA was reauthorized for the first time in 2000 and again in 2005. These legislations reinforced all of the original provisions of 1994 and expanded upon them. For example, the term “dating violence” was included along with “domestic violence” and “sexual assault” to now encompass violence by dating partners. The Sexual Assault Services Program, a federally funded program for services for victims of sexual assault was created.… <Read More>


Spotlight: Professor Carlin Meyer

By: Lori Anne Vergara

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Professor Carlin Meyer has a renowned reputation for her professional and academic achievements; a simple Google search will return pages of information related to her legal career and involvement with New York Law School. However, there is so much more to be said about her amazing spirit and life, which cannot be gleaned from those sources.  During a recent interview with the editors of JustFamilies.org, Professor Meyer spoke candidly about her educational experiences and personal life. When we sat down for our interview, Professor Meyer had already begun the process of packing her belongings from her office in the Abbey Institute area. There were still books on the shelves, though, and she asked each of us to take one or two. As we chose books, she peered over and gave us her brief thoughts on the authors and their work. I was amazed at how much she could remember about each of the books and it made me realize just how passionate she is about discussing legal concepts and ideas.

Recently, Professor Meyer stepped down from her role as director of the Diane Abbey Law Center For Children and Families, recently renamed the Abbey Institute as part of the new Impact Center for Public Interest Law.  She is becoming emeritus in January 2015. Though I was not lucky enough to have her as a professor, I am still saddened to see her set out on the retirement track. I first met Professor Meyer at the New York Law School Gala last fall.… <Read More>