NYLS Domestic Violence Panel: The Intersection Between Domestic Violence and Family Law

By Emily de la Vega and Gabriel Hisugan

The Domestic Violence Project hosted its annual domestic violence panel on October 23, 2013, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The panel was intended to give first year and continuing law students a first-hand look inside the various issues surrounding domestic violence. The panel included four distinguished members from the family law community: Referee Emily Martinez, a Custody, Visitation, and Order of Protection Referee from Brooklyn Family Court; Elizabeth Dank, the Program Director of the Staten Island Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; Shani Adess, a staff attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group; and Cynthia Domingo-Foraste, the Director of the Domestic Violence Law Project at Safe Horizon. The panel was designed to include members of both the legal and social services communities in order to shed light on the crucial role each field plays in addressing the issue of domestic violence.

The panel responded to and discussed an interactive fact pattern designed to illustrate a situation of domestic violence. Throughout the discussion of the fact pattern, each member of the panel had the opportunity to explain her organization’s role in offering help to a victim. The fact pattern touched on many issues including the effects of unemployment, the lack of resources available to victims, and children being present during the violence. As the discussion developed, new facts were introduced in order to demonstrate the complexity of issues often faced by victims.… <Read More>


Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court: New York City Regional Leadership Summit on School-Justice Partnerships

By Michael Cabasso, Susan Imam and Emily de la Vega

On October 18, 2013 the New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force held a Summit at New York Law School to discuss the issue of keeping kids in school and out of court.

Total-Suspensions-Line-Graph

Background:

The Summit was the culmination of four years of work in New York City led by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye along with Kathleen DeCataldo, the Executive Director of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, and Advocates for Children of New York.  The Task Force is comprised of distinguished community leaders, judges, New York City officials, educators, prosecutors, defense counsel, advocates and researchers who came together in an effort to identify, address, and find solutions for the wide array of problems surrounding school safety and school discipline.  The Summit was further supported by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, with additional funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.

This initiative focuses on schools that frequently use suspensions to discipline students who commit offenses while at school, or where students are the most frequently arrested or given a summons to appear in court. Suspensions often result from altercations, physically aggressive behavior, insubordination, and horseplay. Students are most commonly arrested for misdemeanors, with some students arrested for obstructing governmental administration or resisting arrest. The problem with suspensions and arrests is that they can push students further away from receiving an education.  Furthermore, there have been disproportionate numbers of students of color or with disabilities making up a large number of suspensions and arrests.  … <Read More>