Law students gain better understanding of domestic violence issues

interior shot of the law school
Osgoode Hall Law school
Domestic Violence Awareness Training Program
Above: From left, Heyla Vettyvel (JD student at CLASP), Pamela Cross (Luke’s Place), Spiros Vavougios (JD student at CLASP) and Mary Lou Fassel (Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.)

About 100 law students from student-staffed legal clinics across Ontario now have a better understanding of domestic violence issues thanks to a domestic violence awareness training program held June 17 at Osgoode Hall Law School.

The three-hour program, which was conducted by domestic violence experts Pamela Cross of Luke’s Place and Mary Lou Fassel of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, was offered in person at Osgoode for Toronto-based law students as well as online for law students from five other Ontario law schools.

Legal Aid Ontario provided funding for the program, which brought together students from Osgoode’s Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) and Parkdale Community Legal Services, University of Toronto’s Downtown Legal Services, as well as clinics affiliated with Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa, Western University, University of Windsor and Lakehead University law schools.

“It is vitally important that we raise awareness of domestic violence,” said CLASP Director Marian MacGregor. “Students need to learn about the impacts of domestic violence and how it will affect their clients and the communities we serve. Pam Cross and Mary Lou Fassel are experts in the field and students will benefit from that knowledge. We need to signal that domestic violence must be taken seriously by the legal profession. This is an important first step in that direction.”