William & Mary

Law School gets DOJ grant to expand services to domestic violence victims

  • Education & Advocacy
    Education & Advocacy  The W&M Domestic Violence Clinic provides domestic violence legal education and protective order advocacy.  
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William & Mary Law School has announced that its Domestic Violence Clinic is the recipient of a grant from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (DOJ OVW). The grant will provide more than $250,000 over two years to expand the services of the existing clinic.

William & Mary Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas said that "domestic violence is an issue of great importance in our nation.  We are very pleased to receive the support of the Department of Justice as we help serve the legal needs of victims of domestic violence in our community."

The W&M Domestic Violence Clinic provides domestic violence legal education and protective order advocacy. The grant funding will be used to expand the clinic's services to provide a more holistic approach to assisting clients and enable the clinic to represent more clients.

In order to provide more holistic services, the clinic is partnering with additional organizations, including the W&M Family Law Clinic, the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, and Avalon, A Center for Women and Children. Partnering with these organizations will allow the clinic to provide greater legal services, advocacy, and community outreach while connecting clients to counseling and shelter.

Darryl Cunningham, a senior attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, serves as director of both the Domestic Violence Clinic and the Family Law Clinic.  He said, "We are excited about this opportunity to assist abuse victims in a much larger way by providing legal help, emotional and physical support, and access to a wider array of resources. At the same time, this grant will allow more law students to gain first-hand experience while helping those who otherwise could be lost in the system. It is a fantastic opportunity."

Patricia E. Roberts, Clinical Professor of Law and director of the Law School's Clinical Programs, said the award "will enhance the ability of victims of domestic violence to live independently of their abusers through direct legal representation and outreach and education; it will also aid us in training future attorneys in the complexities of direct representation to victims of domestic violence. We are grateful to the DOJ OVW for this grant, which will help provide safety and security to the most vulnerable members of local communities."