March 2010 • Vol. 30 No. 3 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon to Speak at Domestic Violence Project Training on March 9

New project volunteers welcome. Register now.

Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon of the Los Angeles Superior Court will speak to new volunteers of LACBA’s Domestic Violence Project at a training scheduled for March 9.

Judge Sanchez-Gordon currently presides over a civil calendar at the Stanley Mosk Central Civil Courthouse in Los Angeles, handling cases such as class actions, insurance coverage, commercial business and property rights, employment, toxic torts, and legal and medical malpractice, among others. Before that, she presided as site judge in a long cause felony and civil calendar at Superior Court in Alhambra, and prior to that, she served as presiding judge at the East Los Angeles Municipal Court—the first Mexican-American woman to preside at that court.

Judge Sanchez-Gordon, who has worked with judges and staff throughout California in many administrative and policy-making capacities, is the founder of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association and is active in both bar and nonprofit associations. The recipient of several awards and honors for her community service and leadership role in the legal community, Judge Sanchez-Gordon began her professional career as an elementary school teacher and worked as a lawyer at the Office of the Federal Public Defender at the United States Courthouse until her judicial election to the court in 1996.

LACBA Domestic Violence Project. The Domestic Violence Project—a joint effort with the Los Angeles Superior Court—provides one-on-one assistance to victims in preparing the paperwork needed to get temporary and permanent restraining orders against their assailant. The project also prepares victims for their hearings, assists them with interaction with local law enforcement, and gives them contacts to local shelters for safety. In addition, the project provides services to clients who return with follow-up questions concerning their existing orders or requests for extensions of their orders.

The Domestic Violence Project operates in two courtroom spaces in the Central District (since 1986) and Pasadena District (since 1992) of Los Angeles Superior Court. Generally, the clients are from low-income families. Last year alone, DVP served more than 8,000 persons. In the current economic climate and its accompanying frustrations and despair, the rate of domestic violence is expected to rise to epidemic proportions.

Nationally, an estimated 11 percent of all people experience violence within their home. Domestic violence follows a pattern of assault and coercion—often including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion—that adults and adolescents impose against their intimate partners.

  • Women of all races are equally vulnerable to attacks by intimate partners.
  • Domestic violence causes more injury to adult women than cancer, heart attack, or stroke.
  • Domestic violence causes more injuries to women between the ages of 15 and 44 than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • One in three women experiences sexual violence in her lifetime.
  • Nearly 100% of children in violent homes hear or see the abuse.
  • 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year.
  • 50% of battered women who are employed are harassed at work by their abusive partners.1

“At the Domestic Violence Project, access to justice is more than a legal concept. It's real. We assist real people with life-threatening problems, and the rewards are many. The victim is empowered, his or her children receive protection, and the community benefits by the effort,” said Deborah Kelly, Domestic Violence Project Directing Attorney.

Become a volunteer. The Domestic Violence Project continues to seek new volunteers to help handle the growing workflow. 

  • No previous experience in this area of law is necessary. Volunteers attend one evening training session, which provides three hours of CLE credit.
  • Attorneys volunteer for two three-hour commitments per month for six months. Volunteer hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to noon or 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • The Superior Court provides space for the project, parking for volunteers, and assistance with the volunteer trainings.
  • No ongoing representation is required, although volunteers have the option of representing their client at the time of the hearing.

Through the commitment of new volunteers working alongside longtime project veterans, the Domestic Violence Project can continue to help protect abused family members.

To register for the March 9 training, click here.

For additional information about the project, contact Deborah Kelly, directing attorney, at (213) 896-6491 or


1 Information collated from reports by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, Peace Over Violence (Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women), Surgeon General Reports, the U.S.D.A., and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

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