Sunday, October 28, 2007

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

To promote awareness of domestic violence, the New York Court system has sponsored programs throughout the system, many of them available to the public.

In Brooklyn, I took advantage of the Family Court’s outreach program to learn about its daily efforts to protect victims and to hold offenders accountable. The New York City Family Court has an excellent faq.

Another excellent outreach effort is The Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence: Representing the Victim, 5th ed., edited by Jill Laurie Goodman and Dorchen A. Leidholdt, published by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. A version of the manual can be downloaded at and A print version can be ordered from Law libraries with a New York domestic violence practice area should purchase this book. After comparing its coverage of family offenses to West and Matthew Bender publications, I was amazed to realize how infrequently the major publishers updated this area and how little guidance was provided. This manual pulls together the hard-won knowledge of advocates and practitioners.

Amy E. Schwartz and Sharon Stapel’s chapter “Public Assistance and Housing: Helping Survivors Navigate Difficult Systems” is a goldmine for librarians trying to understand public benefits complaints in New York. Non-profits have done impressive work in making available the directives and policy bulletins of government benefit agencies. Government document librarians will want to review these sites and consider issues of access and accountability.

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