St. Elizabeth's Hospital Program (DVI At St. E's)
ORIGINS OF THE PROJECT
In 1993, Lois Kanter began talking with Barbara Herbert, an emergency department physician at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center), about a research project involving women who come to the hospital's adult and pediatric emergency departments for treatment for themselves and their children. The hospital was interested in learning how better to serve battered women in the community by talking with all women about their experiences with domestic violence, whether those experiences were their own, or those of their family and friends. Dr. Herbert proposed that law student advocates be trained to conduct the interviews that would yield this information.
Since Dr. Herbert worked the night shift, and Professor Kanter had court responsibilities during the day, they agreed that volunteer law students would be solicited to interview women in the Emergency Department in the evening and at night. To ensure that women who disclosed violence in their lives could have access to services, present or former students in the Domestic Violence District Court clinic (or other students with similar experience) were asked to volunteer as team leaders, providing legal advocacy where needed. When the project was advertised to law and other graduate students throughout the Boston area, the response was overwhelming. First year law students who could not enroll in upper level clinical courses as well as students from other area law schools, were eager to volunteer and willing to attend as much training as we could provide.
DVI volunteers were a constant presence at BMC for almost 20 years, interviewing patients and providing important crisis intervention and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence. In the spring of 2012, the program was brought back under Dr. Herbert's supervision at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Brighton, where it will resume for the 2012-13 academic year.
Please check back in August 2012 for more information about the program, including how to apply for the 2012-2013 year!