The clinic works in a wide range of forums on domestic violence issues.
Included among the many projects are an expert report to the Inter-American Commission in Jessica Gonzales v. U.S.; contributions to Human Rights and Domestic Violence: An Advocacy Manual, a pathbreaking guide for using human rights law and norms in U.S. domestic violence cases; and participation in a coalition of organizations that successfully expanded the scope of civil protection orders in New York State to cover dating and same-sex couples.
Expanding Access To Civil Protection Orders
Family Court Access – Civil Protection Orders in NYS—As part of a coalition of advocates to expand access to civil protection orders beyond couples who are married or have a child in common, the clinic undertook an extensive analysis, both in New York and around the country. The clinic’s White Paper, submitted to members of the New York State Senate as well as in advocacy communities more broadly, addresses the importance of civil (rather than criminal) protection orders in addressing domestic violence and documents the availability of civil protection orders to non-married couples in nearly every other state in the U.S. In addition to the White Paper, the clinic prepared a range of advocacy materials for the Family Court Access Coalition’s use. In June 2009, the New York State legislature finally changed the law and, now, individuals in dating relationships and same-sex partnerships who need protection from a violent partner can access orders of protection from the state’s civil courts. To raise awareness about the issues, the clinic also wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Journal News, a Gannett Westchester County newspaper.
Combating Intimate Partner Violence with Civil Protection Orders—A SGL Clinic White paper
Family Court Access Bill Flyer
Talking Points for the Access to Family Court Bill
"Race, Domestic Violence and New York's Ineffective Family Court Law," The Journal News, June 5, 2008
Human Rights Arguments In Domestic Violence Cases
Human Rights and Domestic Violence: An Advocacy Manual—Together with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic, the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic developed an extensive, cutting-edge guide to train advocates to use human rights arguments in domestic violence cases in the U.S. The clinic’s contributions focused specifically on arguments that can be made in contexts where domestic violence is targeted at individuals who are trafficked and/or are gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender.
Human Rights and Domestic Violence: An Advocacy Manual
Law Enforcement and Domestic Violence
Gonzales v. U.S. – In this case, Jessica Gonzales has petitioned the Inter-American Commission for redress after local police failed to enforce a protection order against her former husband, who had kidnapped her three daughters (and ultimately was fatally shot by police, who then found the daughters’ bodies in the back of his truck). The U.S. Supreme Court held, in a 2005 opinion (Castle Rock v. Gonzales), that the city could not be held liable for its failure to enforce the order because Gonzales had no legally cognizable right to have the order enforced. For the Inter-American Commission case, the clinic worked with Professor Jeffrey Fagan to develop an expert statement on law enforcement issues related to domestic violence.
Professor Fagan's Expert Report in Gonzales v. United States