April 16, 2008

Clinic set on domestic violence, victim services

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Law enforcement experts will talk about domestic violence laws and victims services during a clinic next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The SIUC Department of Public Safety and the SIU School of Law will present the clinic, hosted by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office. The event, free and open to the public, is set for 1 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at the auditorium in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building on the SIUC campus.

Presenters from Madigan's office will address domestic violence laws, crime victims compensation, the Automated Victim Notification Network and identity theft, said Scott Miller, an officer with the SIUC Department of Public Safety.

"We are doing this to keep our people informed and aware of current problems and issues that may be affecting them and the campus community, along with providing them information on how to better protect themselves from becoming victims or identifying themselves of being a victim," Miller said. "It also educates them on what to do, how to respond and avenues of assistance, among other things."

Gail A. Thomas, a staff attorney on clinical law with the SIU School of Law, said this is the first time the University has invited the attorney general's office to speak on such issues.

"Each of the topics to be discussed are issues currently at the forefront and affect a great number of people," Thomas said. "The attorney general's office is aware of the importance of educating the public on these matters, and is wonderful in responding to the requests for experts to come speak about them."

Thomas said Madigan considers victim rights a top priority for her office.

"That office has done a great job of assisting victims in a variety of ways including education, providing grants for direct victim services, improving the process for filing for victims' compensation and implementing an automated victim notification system throughout the state to let victims know when their abusers have been released from prison and jail," she said.

Presenters and their topics include:

• Jennifer Welch, policy director, will give a one-hour update on domestic violence laws.

• Corey-Anne Gulkewicz, chief of the crime victims compensation bureau, will speak for 30 minutes on crime victims compensation laws.

• Michael R. Bastien, coordinator of the state automated victims notification system, will speak for 45 minutes on that process.

• Megan Fulara, a community outreach liaison, will talk for 30 minutes on identity theft.