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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

Shedding light on Native American domestic violence issues

The University of South Carolina School of Law will co-host a free half-day conference Understanding and Combating Domestic Violence in Indian Country on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.

The program is part of a full-day of training on ways to expand pro bono legal representation for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Registrants are welcome to arrive at 9 a.m. and participate in the morning session, which focuses on combating domestic violence issues more broadly.

The afternoon session, held from 1-4:30 p.m., will focus specifically on the challenges Native people and their advocates face in addressing domestic violence, as well as the legal tools available to assist. Participants will leave the workshop with a greater knowledge and expertise for handling cases involving domestic violence in Indian Country. Topics will include:

  • Victim and perpetrator behaviors
  • Enhancing victim and child safety
  • Civil protection orders
  • Custody proceedings

The conference is part of a multi-year initiative to help celebrate the POWER ACT (Pro Bono Work to Empower & Represent Act) passed by Congress in 2018. The POWER ACT charges the chief federal district court judge to partner with victim service providers and Native American communities to promote pro bono legal services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.

The U.S. District Court of South Carolina, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and the Catawba Indian Nation have partnered to produce the afternoon conference, which brings together a team of nationally-recognized experts in the fields of Indian Law and Domestic Violence Law, including: 

  • The Honorable R. Bryan Harwell, Chief U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • Bonnie Claremont, Victim Advocate Specialist, Tribal Law & Policy Institute
  • Leslie Hagen, National Indian Country Training Coordinator, U.S. National Advocacy Center
  • The Honorable Angela Sherigan, Judge, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
  • Kelly Stoner, Victim Advocacy Legal Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute
  • Neoshia Roemer, Fellow, Michigan State University, Indigenous Law and Policy 

School of Law professor Marcia Zug organized the afternoon session and will act as moderator.

 The conference will be held at the Matthew J. Perry Jr. Courthouse, 901 Richland Street, Columbia, SC 29201. 

Victim Service Provider and Continuing Legal Education credits are available.

Register or see the full event schedule and learn more

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