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Schedule at-a-glance

9:00 Check-in / Light Breakfast
Opening Remarks
9:45 Overview of Barriers
10:05 Overview of Court System
10:30  Simulation Exercise
12:15   Keynote Address & Lunch*
1:15 Dialogue: Court Interpreters & Advocates
Closing Remarks

*Sandwiches & wraps (with vegetarian options) will be served for registered attendees.


Monica Driggers, Wellesley Centers for Women
Mithra Merryman, Greater Boston Legal Services
Eva Millona, Mass. Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Gladys Ortiz, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
Katia Santiago-Taylor, Mass. Office for Victims Assistance
Ilene Seidman, Suffolk Law School
Jeff Wolf, Mass. Law Reform Institute

Keynote Presentation:
Quynh Dang, Mass. Dept. of Public Health

“Key Lessons from Immigrant Domestic Violence Homicides in MA”
The largest record of domestic violence homicides spanning the years 1993-2009 exists in MA. Who is most likely to be killed? Is immigration status protective? Looking specifically at the immigrant data from this record, we can draw some important lessons for the advocacy community.

AM Session:

As experienced domestic violence advocates know, Probate and Family Court cases can be complex, drawn-out, and difficult for all survivors.  Language barriers, unfamiliarity with court processes, cultural misperceptions, and questions about immigration status routinely frustrate the efforts of battered immigrant and minority survivors of domestic violence to use family court to achieve personal and financial security for themselves and their children. 

During this session, advocates, domestic violence survivors, researchers, and attorneys, will describe the unique complications these survivors commonly face and then introduce methods to overcome these obstacles.  We will encourage the participation of attendees so that their collective wisdom can inform discussions of effective, culturally tailored techniques as we use this conference session to begin creating a community of best practice around these issues.

PM Session:

This will be a dialogue between court interpreters and advocates to clarify their roles to each other, identify barriers for immigrant and minority survivors in the Probate and Family Courts, and discuss ideas for collaboration to improve services for survivors. 

A panel of court interpreters and advocates will describe their experiences with immigrant and minority survivors, with particular attention to issues in the Probate and Family Courts.  Panelists will then respond to questions aimed at building collaborative efforts between interpreters and advocates.  Conference attendees will have the opportunity to respond to panelists’ comments and participate in a large group discussion.