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MVA Participates in CMS Dating Violence Summit

February 28, 2014

The U.S. Attorney’s Office invited Moore & Van Allen to participate in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Engage Summit, held on February 25 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  The summit’s focus theme was “Teens Against Dating Violence.”   Financial Services Counsel Kimberly Zirkle and Litigation Associate Cabell Clay joined the effort by presenting “Dating Violence – Recognizing the Signs and Breaking the Silence” to the approximately 100 CMS eighth-grade student leaders who attended. 

The Engage Summits are a component of CMS’ “Making it Better” campaign, an anti-violence, anti-bullying initiative promoting positive conflict resolution and violence prevention strategies.  The goal of last month’s summit was to raise awareness and promote prevention of domestic violence.  In support of this goal, Zirkle and Clay’s presentation covered topics such as signs and red flags of dating violence, how North Carolina law defines domestic violence, dating rights and responsibilities, how to walk away from an unhealthy relationship, and how to help friends who are involved in unhealthy relationships.

“I've been in criminal law for 20 years,” said Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, “and one pattern that I've seen is that behaviors that begin young continue.  And some of that is domestic violence and that begins with teen dating violence.”

The Firm was invited to participate in the summit given existing commitment to supporting victims of domestic violence through the Domestic Violence (DV) Project.  Led by Litigation Associate Mindy Vervais, the DV Project facilitates opportunities for Moore & Van Allen attorneys to provide pro bono services to low-income families affected by domestic violence.  The project empowers victims of domestic violence who could not otherwise afford an attorney to advocate for their rights.  In 2012 and 2013, Safe Alliance named both Clay and Vervais Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year based on their domestic violence caseloads, and the Firm received Safe Alliance's Commitment to Justice Award for commitment to domestic violence needs.