CONFERENCE AGENDA
JUSTICE FOR SURVIVORS OF
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

DAY 1 (October 13)

In an effort to confront intersectional, systemic injustice, panelists will provide insight into how litigants and practitioners experience bias in the courts, and the role bias plays in perpetuating an under-resourced court system that serves the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Panelists will highlight the findings of the "Report from the Special Adviser on Equal Justice in the New York State Courts" produced by Jeh Johnson, the "Gender Survey 2020" produced by the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, and the reforms being instituted in response. Panelists will consider strategies for reducing bias, including training, oversight, and institutional reform.

SPEAKERS:

Stephanie McGraw

CEO, W.A.R.M. We All Really Matter

This panel explores how the law and legal practice can keep pace with today’s understanding of domestic violence, including the dynamics of coercive control, the use of lethality assessment tools, and the tragic commission of femicide. Panelists discuss evidence-based lethality assessment tools and how courts should utilize them. Panelists also highlight proposed coercive control legislation in New York and enacted statutes from other states.

This panel builds upon the challenges identified throughout the conference and discusses a variety of reforms that would transform New York State’s inequitable court system. Panelists describe how New York State’s antiquated court system with insufficient resources for the family courts has negatively impacted the safety and security of women, children, and families, and focus on proposals to enhance access to justice for all New Yorkers.

DAY 2 (October 14)

This panel will examine custody and visitation cases involving child safety concerns and address current trends, including the growing use of parental alienation allegations. Panelists will review empirical data on bias towards victims in custody outcomes, examine how gender bias and differing parenting standards negatively impact visitation and custody decisions, share practitioner experiences, and consider legislation designed to address these challenges.

This panel examines how judges are elected, appointed, and assigned to family court, the training they receive, and the resulting shortage of judges with the appropriate knowledge, background, and/or experience to handle the complexity and volume of family law cases involving intimate partner violence. Panelists discuss the inequity for litigants created by short-term judicial family court assignments and the need for increased judicial transparency and accountability.

SPEAKERS:

Hon. Edwina Mendelson

Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives

NYS Office of Court Administration

Survivors of intimate partner violence experience myriad forms of trauma, including physical, psychological, and sexual violence, poor treatment by systems, and racism. Domestic violence legal practitioners are steeped in trauma, yet often do not realize they are experiencing vicarious trauma until they exhibit symptoms. This panel defines trauma and vicarious trauma, identifies the ways practitioners experience and express them, discusses the need for institutional support, and brainstorms individual and peer support strategies.