Family Violence: Multidisciplinary Solutions to Abuse

Hosted by the University of Missouri School of Law Family Violence Clinic and Women’s Law Association

November 14, 2018

Domestic Abuse Photo by: Airman Zachary Hada.


The Family Violence Clinic and the Women’s Law Association at the University of Missouri School of Law are pleased to announce three roundtable discussions on contemporary theories addressing family violence.

The purpose of these discussions is to explore multidisciplinary, evidence-based solutions to abuse, because only broad-based, data-driven approaches can adequately respond to family violence.

The first roundtable, led by Dr. Jill Messing from the University of Arizona School of Social Work, will focus on dangerousness and lethality assessments in adult abuse settings to tailor management of those offenders with high scores and inform survivors’ service plans.

Missouri ranks 10th (population adjusted) for domestic homicide. Other states are addressing abuse victim safety by assessing the risk of lethality in a given situation and then using the level of risk to manage offenders in criminal and/or civil abuse cases and to inform survivors’ service plans.

Dr. Messing has received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice and the National Institutes of Health for her work with multi-site research and interventions. The law school’s Associate Dean Paul Litton will moderate this discussion.

The second roundtable will start a multidisciplinary conversation about developing an evidence-based collaborative MU Family Advocacy Center focusing on strengthening Missouri families with abuse issues, including those co-extant with substance abuse.

University faculty members will briefly describe their school’s research and services for adult and child victims of abuse, incorporating any substance abuse complications. Faculty members will then discuss collaboration and potential sources of funding from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Institutes of Justice, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Missouri Department of Public Safety, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The third roundtable, led by Former Missouri First Lady Dr. Sheena Greitens and Professor Mary Beck, director of the law school’s Family Violence Clinic, will focus on the work of Dr. Greitens’ Foster Care and Adoption Initiative in context of the opioid epidemic, which has been associated with significant increases in Missouri’s foster care population. Dr. Greitens, acting as Missouri’s First Lady, extensively convened child advocacy groups and ultimately successfully invited the Missouri legislature to respond to the state’s foster care crisis with new laws to expedite services and permanency for children. Professor Beck recommends several additional Missouri law reforms. Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, dean of the law school, will moderate this discussion.


All events will be held in Hulston Hall on the University of Missouri campus. Convenient parking is located two blocks west of Hulston Hall in Turner Avenue Garage.

Directions and detailed parking information are available at

Cost and Registration

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested but not required.

Register Online

Continuing Legal Education Credit

This event has been approved for a total of 3.6 hours of continuing legal education credit in the state of Missouri.



November 14, 2018
11 am Welcome
11:30 am Roundtable 1: Domestic Homicide Solutions

Jill Messing
Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Arizona State University

Moderated by:
Paul Litton
Associate Dean for Faculty Research & Development
University of Missouri School of Law

12:30 pm
Lunch (provided)
1 pm Roundtable 2: Multidisciplinary Conversation on MU Research and Services Relating to Abuse, Including Substance Abuse

Presented by representatives of Great Circle, an agency providing behavioral health service to children and families, and MU faculty and staff in the areas of psychology, psychiatry, law, nursing, human development and family science, social work, personal financial planning, and extension.

Moderated by:
Carmen Schulze
Vice President and Chief Public Affairs Officer
Great Circle

2–3 pm Roundtable 3: Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Initiative Responding to the Opioid Epidemic

Sheena Greitens

Former Missouri First Lady
Co-Director, Institute for Korean Studies
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
University of Missouri


Mary Beck, ’88
Director, Family Violence Clinic
Clinical Professor Emerita of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

Moderated by:
Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky
Dean and Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law

About the Family Violence Clinic

The Family Violence Clinic was founded at the University of Missouri School of Law in 1992 with a U.S. Department of Education Title IX grant obtained by a Women’s Law Association president. The clinic director offers two law school courses – a seminar and the clinic. Only second- and third-year Rule 13-certified law students may enroll in the clinical course where students represent indigent adult and child abuse victims who are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

Clinic students represent petitioners obtaining civil orders of protection, terminally ill custodial parents seeking permanency for their children, and petitioners for adoption of abused, neglected, and orphaned children, including those with special needs. Students work on gubernatorial clemency petitions, draft and lobby for legislation impacting abused women, children. Seminar students write and often publish policy papers.

Since its inception, the clinic has expanded its representation from five to 46 rural Missouri Circuit Courts including the Missouri Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Today, the clinic is funded by the University of Missouri and has received funding for special projects and rural representation from federal, state and private sources.

About the Women’s Law Association

The University of Missouri School of Law Women’s Law Association is one of the law school’s largest and most active organizations. The purpose of WLA is to serve the professional, academic and social needs of law students, as well as the needs of women and gender minorities in the community. WLA serves these functions through networking events, speaker series, mentorships between members, scholarships and social events. WLA also supports local charities through an annual charity auction.

In 1992, WLA President Teresa Jones, ’92, obtained a U.S. Department of Education Title IX grant with the purpose of starting a family violence clinical program at the University of Missouri School of Law. Over the years since, WLA has supported the Family Violence Clinic through fundraising events and the support of individual WLA members.

WLA is proud to continue its long-standing support and relationship with the Family Violence Clinic.