Domestic Violence Update

Presenters & CLE Materials

As materials are received, this page will be updated along with the date they've been uploaded.

Materials will be available at least 1 week prior to the event.



Hon. Lisa Bloch-Rodwin

Advocacy in Domestic Violence Cases: A View from the Bench

This presentation will explore the philosophical (and consequently procedural) changes in family court’s approach to issuing orders of protection.  Judicial education on the topic of domestic violence along with the factors that judges consider in evaluating family offense, custody, and child welfare proceedings will be reviewed.  The challenges and parameters of advocacy in the courtroom and outside of it for alleged adult victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, and for children in these cases, will be examined.


Melissa Breger

How the Legal System Has the Potential to Change a Culture of Domestic Violence

Some would argue that our American culture too readily accepts domestic violence as normal or inevitable. How has the legal system contributed to that culture, how has it changed that culture, and how can the law try to transform a culture of family violence? This presentation will address significant case law and legislative reforms over the decades that have informed our perspective of intimate partner and family violence in the United States.  It will also suggest ideas for future reform, including domestic violence awareness, early education, and transformation of our perceptions of intimate partner violence.


Peter Jaffe, Ph.D.

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Victims, Perpetrators & Children & The Implications for Developing Parenting Plans

Dealing with allegations of domestic violence in tandem with child custody dilemmas represents a significant challenge for the family court as well as legal and mental health professionals engaged in helping families in crisis. The presentation will provide participants with emerging knowledge about the nature of domestic violence and how it impacts parenting and children exposed to this violence. Promising practices on assessment and screening models will be presented as well as the implications for client advocacy. Dilemmas and unresolved debates in the field will also be addressed.


Judith Olin, Esq.

Director, Family Violence & Women’s Rights Clinic,
University at Buffalo School of Law


Lynette Reda, Esq.

Chief, Domestic Violence Bureau,
Erie County District Attorney’s Office

The Erie County Domestic Violence High Risk Team: A Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Dangerous Cases

Judith Olin and Lynette Reda's joint presentation will be on the new Domestic Violence High Risk Team in Erie County which arose from a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women. The Team’s model includes the use of risk assessments to identify the most dangerous domestic violence cases, which are then monitored by a multidisciplinary team, including team members from law enforcement, prosecution, probation and victim advocacy.


Hon. Jane Pearl

Judge Jane Pearl was appointed to the New York City Family Court bench in 2000 by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and was reappointed in 2009 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Judge Pearl presently sits in New York County. From 2000-2003, and from 2009-2012, she sat as a judge in Bronx County.  She is past president of the New York Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).

Pearl is serving as moderator for today's program.


Daniel M. Weitz, Esq.

At the Crossroads of Mediation and Domestic Violence

This presentation will focus on the history and recent developments regarding the policies surrounding the use of mediation in cases in which coercive control is present. Court sponsored Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, programs have historically precluded mediation in such cases with extremely rare exception. Mediator training requirements include coverage of domestic violence awareness and mediator ethics guidelines include provisions for screening for appropriateness in mediation, which includes careful attention to domestic violence as a threshold issue for mediators. This policy derives from a clear need for victim protection and a recognition that domestic violence cases appear to be incompatible with the core values of mediation including party self-determination. However, some ADR professionals have collaborated with domestic violence advocates to explore ways of resolving the tension between the core values of mediation and victim protection. The presentation will take stock of the roads traveled toward the intersection of ADR and domestic violence while taking a look toward the future as well.


Jeffrey Wittmann, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeffrey Wittmann's practice is focused exclusively on forensic consultation services in contested child custody and access matters. He draws on decades of experience as a nationally-utiized trial consultant, evaluator, author, and teacher to offer empirically grounded services to matrimonial law firms. He conducts peer reviews of custody evaluations, assists with cross and direct-exam development, and offers in-court consultation regarding on-going expert testimony.


Gwen Wright

Domestic Violence Practice: Services, Response, Prevention

This presentation will focus on the development of domestic violence services: The evolution of response and of efforts at prevention. As domestic violence services have become institutionalized, it is important to look at who we serve and who we do not, and if our responses match our clients’ needs. Finally, the ever-elusive question will be addressed: How do you prevent domestic violence? What have we learned and what are we doing now.

This program qualifies for 6.0 transitional or non-transitional NYS CLE credits; 3.0 in the area of Professional Practice, and 3.0 credit in the area of Skills. The University at Buffalo School of Law has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State of New York for the period of March 11, 2014 - March 10, 2017. The University at Buffalo School of Law has a financial hardship policy. For further information on our policy, contact Lisa Mueller, CLE Coordinator at 716-645-3176.