Empowering Survivors of Domestic Violence Is Topic for Oct. 3 Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

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Despite laws, initiatives and improved awareness, domestic violence remains a prevalent, complicated and pernicious problem. An Oct. 3, 2013, program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago will shed light on some of the difficult issues to addressing this phenomenon

Despite laws, initiatives and improved awareness, domestic violence remains a prevalent, complicated and pernicious problem. An Oct. 3, 2013, program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago will shed light on some of the difficult issues to addressing this phenomenon.

As Domestic Violence Awareness month opens, a program aimed at understanding the issue will be held at noon on Oct. 3, 2013, at The John Marshall Law School, 315 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago.

“Why She Doesn’t ‘Just Leave’: Understanding Domestic Violence and Illinois Measures to Empower Survivors,” is the title of the panel discussion led by John Marshall Professor Debra Pogrund Stark, who created and co-teaches the law school’s domestic violence courses and clinical offerings.

This program will address the nature and dynamics of domestic violence; clarify how to recognize when one is in an abusive relationship; address the significant barriers to becoming safe; and describe the kinds of resources available in Illinois to achieve that safety, including numerous laws enacted in Illinois to better protect survivors of domestic violence.

“The goal of this program is to address the most common misconception about domestic violence: that the survivor should ‘just leave’ her abuser,” Stark said. “Another goal is to provide information on the need to provide a comprehensive array of services to empower a survivor of domestic violence to safely leave or safely remain in their intimate partner relationship.”

The program is co-sponsored by The John Marshall Law School and the Women’s Law Caucus, a law student organization.

Panelists are Gwyn Kaitis, director of the Domestic Violence Help Line; Kathy Doherty, executive director of Between Friends; Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Sebastian T. Patti, presiding judge of the Domestic Violence Division; and Margaret Duval, executive director of the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic.

“Despite society beginning to recognize the effects of domestic violence, the general population does not truly understand the nature and dynamics of domestic violence and the enormous barriers survivors of this abuse face in trying to become safe,” Stark said.

Three specific Illinois laws will be discussed at the program: orders of protection under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act; the ability to terminate a lease early or change the locks under the Safe Housing Act; and obtaining time off from work or other accommodations to address survivor safety and health under the Victim Economic Security and Safety Act.

“We know that domestic violence in the United States profoundly harms survivors of the violence and their children, and it has a significant impact on society in general. Too often survivors of domestic violence end up homeless, face additional health care costs, lose their jobs due to reduced work productivity and may spend a significant amount of time dealing with police and the courts,” Stark explained.

“A final goal is to give information of the many resources and key laws in place here in Illinois that can empower survivors to become safe and whole again,” she added.

This is a free program, but registrations are welcome and are being accepted at http://events.jmls.edu/registration/node/422

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Marilyn Thomas
The John Marshall Law School
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