Northeastern Law Seeks to Expand Support for Domestic Violence Victims During COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
04.27.20 — Northeastern University School of Law’s Domestic Violence Institute (DVI), NuLawLab and a hotel seek to rapidly expand the ability of the school’s Domestic Violence Clinic to support current victims of intimate partner abuse in Dorchester, Massachusetts, with:
- safe, supervised shelter
- remote assistance by law students in the Domestic Violence Clinic
- a novel, secure means of video-documenting client information and evidence
- digitally automated court form generation and filing
These efforts are being coordinated with the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Force and Suffolk Law LIT Lab’s digital document assembly line. The initiative is seeking $105,000 to activate this plan for 30 days and an additional $43,000 for every month thereafter. Operations can commence within five days of securing sufficient pledges. Donations can be made at https://giving.northeastern.edu/live/profiles/225-school-of-law-domestic-violence-advocacy-project.
“Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is substantially exacerbating the conditions for intimate partner abuse. Stay-at-home orders like the one in place in Massachusetts have trapped victims under the same roof as their abusers as the psychological and economic strain of confinement and isolation mounts,” said Professor Margo Lindauer, director of the Domestic Violence Institute and the Domestic Violence Clinic.
At the same time, the public health restrictions being implemented to combat the spread of the virus are drastically reducing victims’ access to alternative housing and legal relief as hotels shut down; interstate travel restrictions are put in place; and courthouses and legal service providers move exclusively online. Across the country, 911 calls for domestic violence are increasing, straining already overburdened systems.
About the Domestic Violence Institute
Integral to the DVI’s mission is a commitment to empowering clients and client communities so that they can articulate and advance their own legal strategies and resolutions — both in their individual cases and in advocating for changes in the legal system that will benefit all victims. The DVI does this by making its faculty, staff and students available to support clients in a wide range of activities — offering basic abuse prevention representation to individual clients; expedited referrals of community group organizations and to cooperating lawyers for legal representation in more complex matters. The DVI also works to secure institutional and financial support; and the opportunity to participate in collaborative research and demonstration grants.
The NuLawLab is the interdisciplinary innovation laboratory at Northeastern University School of Law. It is a leader in the emerging global legal design movement. Its programs, projects, seminars and research build cross-disciplinary teams and community-based partnerships focused on transforming legal education, the legal profession and the delivery of legal services. In support of the law school’s mission as a leading public interest law school, the NuLawLab provides Northeastern law students with the knowledge and skills to be the legal inventors of the future.
About Northeastern University School of Law
The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.
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