Family violence.

Family Violence and Women’s Rights Clinic

In the Family Violence and Women’s Rights Clinic (FVWRC), students are invited to join the fight towards attaining justice and safety for survivors of family violence.

Serving the unmet needs of local survivors in Western New York, the Family Violence & Women's Right Clinic seeks to fill the gap to ensure victims of violence receive the proper legal representation needed in many areas of the law, including family offense petitionschild supportcustody, and visitation cases, and divorce.

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The Family Violence & Women’s Rights Clinic is proudly funded partially by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and generous donors of the FVWRC.

About the Clinic Student Engagement Current Projects News & Presentations

Throughout the semester, student attorneys represent family violence survivors in Family and Integrated Domestic Violence courts. Most of the Clinics' clients are single, female, heads of household with young children. These survivors are struggling to emerge from the violence and rebuild their lives with adequate financial resources, and emotional support to care for themselves and their children.

Historically, Clinic students trained hundreds of high school students at area local public high schools in a Clinic-created teen dating violence prevention curriculum.  More recently, the Clinic is exploring a partnership with Crisis Services of Buffalo and Erie County, a long-standing community educator on this topic.  Clinic student attorney Julia Merante’s memo on the history of mandatory teen dating violence prevention legislation provides a sophisticated analysis of the newly enacted Erin’s Law, a child sexual abuse prevention statute mandating education for pupils in K-8 grades, and how New York’s law falls short compared to other states.  [Download Erin's Law Memo]

Clinic students have participated in the annual Teen Dating Violence Summit organized by the Erie County Commission on The Status of Women. Clinic students have developed a domestic violence court watch toolkit, and are working with Zonta and The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women on implementation. [Download Court Safety Measures]

Every semester, clinic  students and faculty deliver trainings on domestic violence legal issues to domestic violence advocates and law enforcement officers in Erie County.

Student Attorney Ashley Love created a white paper on the issue of the intersection between child protective services and domestic violence survivors, some of whom are reported for exposing their children to domestic violence.  Love trained scores of mandated reporters, victim advocates and others throughout Western New York, advocating against findings of neglect for survivors.  [Download Domestic Violence & Child Protective Services Mandated Reporting]

Student attorneys and Clinical faculty are currently working with a group of stakeholders, looking at the issue of improving timely service of temporary orders of protection.

Student Attorneys engage in legal research and other projects for domestic violence serving organizations, including the Violence Prevention Team at the University at Buffalo.  Working in partnership with violence prevention specialists at UB, student attorneys created a guide to understanding the difference in standards of consent between Title IX and the NYS penal law.  In an additional project, student attorney Jake Giovati received training in a new violence prevention program, “Rolling With Rejection,” a program geared towards helping men build awareness about and reject social norms of toxic masculinity.  Mr. Giovati will work to deliver trainings in the fall.    In collaboration with these allied stakeholders, students advocate for domestic violence systemic reform.