Professor Beth Posner, who teaches in UNC Clinical Programs, is the faculty advisor for UNC School of Law’s Domestic Violence Action Project (DVAP), which was awarded the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award at UNC’s annual 2015 Public Service Awards April 7, 2015. The Domestic Violence Action Project is a student-run organization that provides free legal representation to victims of domestic violence and sponsors speakers and programs to educate the university community about domestic violence.
The DVAP program being recognized is the Ex Parte Project, launched in 2013, in which students work directly with victims of domestic violence, assisting them with filing for Ex Parte Domestic Violence Protective Orders. The project initially began in Orange and Chatham counties, and in its second year the project’s partnerships are with the Durham County Courthouse and the Durham Crisis Response Center. Volunteers assist victims with all requisite paperwork and accompany them to their initial ex parte hearings to request emergency orders of protection. Twenty-nine students participated in DVAP’s Ex Parte Project training during the inaugural year of the project, and an additional 22 students participated this academic year.
“Students in DVAP have worked thoughtfully and efficiently to respond to a critical unmet legal need in our area, have built connections with community partners, and have provided consistent and accessible support to victims of domestic violence,” said Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs Sylvia Novinsky in her letter nominating DVAP for the award.
Caline Hou 2L, co-coordinator for the Ex Part Project along with Lindsey Brown 2L, accepted the award for the organization at the ceremony.
"We are grateful for the support the Ex Parte Project has received from the Carolina Law and Carolina communities,” says Hou. “The opportunity to utilize the legal education we have been fortunate to receive from UNC Law to serve survivors of domestic violence has added invaluable meaning to our education. Through this project, we hope to continue fostering an enduring relationship among students, the university and our community partners to provide advocacy to survivors of domestic violence."
Professor Posner says the Ex Parte project is an important educational opportunity for students and a significant help to people in crisis.
“I have no doubt that this project could be replicated in other counties,” says Posner. “Trained law students, motivated by a desire to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, are in a unique position to alleviate the burdens of our courthouse personnel and social service providers while meeting the needs of a very vulnerable group of litigants.”
The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recognizes individual students, faculty, staff and organizations at UNC for extraordinary public service and engagement. In addition to recognition at the awards ceremony, the honor includes a cash award and framed certificate. The award honors the memory and accomplishments of alumnus Robert E. Bryan ’26 of Newton Grove, N.C., who worked his way through the University to become a successful businessman, entrepreneur and public servant.
Posted by Beth S. Posner on Tue. April 7, 2015 10:44 AM