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
Beth Cereo training new FJC advocate.

Bethany Cereo '18 training new Family Justice Center advocate

All FVWRC students are included on the Clinical Legal Education Program's Student Practice Order which authorizes them to practice law under the direct supervision of clinical faculty.

Student Attorneys work in teams and are assigned multiple cases throughout the semester. Student Attorneys become versed in a number of practice-ready skills including: client interviewing and counseling, negotiation with opposing counsel and the attorney for the child, and preparation of a variety of legal documents such as stipulations, orders, discovery documents, etc.  Student attorneys develop case theories, investigate facts and stand up in Court to argue motions and, in some cases, examine witnesses in hearings and trials.

In weekly seminar classes and team meetings with the clinical faculty, students have the opportunity to discuss their cases in detail, analyzing each step taken, and getting input from fellow student attorneys. Students in the clinic hone their practice skills through in-class simulations in interviewing, negotiation, and other litigation skills, all while they learn the interpersonal skills needed to work with survivors of family violence and gain an understanding of unique ethical issues common to this field.

Jake M. Giovati '23 and Ashley E. Love '22.

Jake M. Giovati '23 and Ashley E. Love '22

2020-2022 - The Clinic agrees to represent a relative in a complex third -party custody case.  After many roadblocks involving jurisdiction and discovery issues, a favorable result was reached for our client.

2021-2022 - The Clinic successfully reverses an administrative finding of neglect against our client who was physically abused in the presence of the party's child.

The Clinic is able to secure a temporary custodial order of relocation for a survivor who has suffered a long history of domestic violence.

2020-2022 - The Clinic increases its representation of child support petitioners to help achieve greater financial autonomy which enhances safety and independence.

In the first year of the pandemic, Erie County experienced a surge in requests for civil orders of protection. Clinic students joined a community collaborative response by drafting and electronically filing family offense petitions requesting emergency orders of protection.

The Clinic continues its partnership with Neighborhood Legal Services, accepting NLS referrals, co-counseling and consulting on appropriate cases.

Useful background courses include: Family Law, Domestic Violence Law, Children and the Law.

Students in the Family or Criminal Law Concentrations may take this clinic as part of their program.

Students in the JD/MSW Program may take this Clinic as their field placement.