Verizon Wireless grant helps Domestic Violence Clinic reunite abused mother with kidnapped child

Oct. 29, 2014

Clinic students celebrate with mother and child
Clinic students surround reunited mother and child.

A $25,000 gift from the Verizon Wireless corporate foundation helped UC Irvine School of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic reunite an abused mother with her kidnapped daughter.

According to Clinic Director Professor Jane Stoever, the Verizon Foundation’s 2014 grant enabled the Clinic to achieve a stunning victory in the fight against domestic violence: the reunion of a Clinic client with her 17-month-old baby girl, who had been kidnapped by the baby’s father. The mother and child had been separated for nearly a year.

In March, students in the Clinic, under the supervision of Professor Stoever and Adjunct Professor Patricia Cyr, represented their client in court and obtained a temporary restraining order against the father of the child, in which the mother was granted temporary custody and the father was denied visitation. “While the abuser perpetrated severe violence against our client for years, abducting her child was his cruelest form of abuse,” Prof. Stoever said.

The Clinic immediately engaged in extensive efforts to locate the missing child and father, including initiating and coordinating investigations by police, prosecution, probation and the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children. Clinic students worked tirelessly, and the Clinic has already appeared in court on this case 12 times.

With funds from the Verizon Foundation grant, the Clinic hired private process servers, private investigators, interpreters and translators, and paid for transportation and ancillary expenses. In October, the Clinic launched a media campaign on local and regional media, which resulted in the return of the child to her mother.

Students in UCI Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic represent domestic violence survivors in civil, criminal and immigration matters to help clients achieve freedom from violence. “The Verizon Foundation’s generous gift has enabled our Clinic to take on extremely complex matters and provide transformative representation to our clients,” said Prof. Stoever. “It has made an enormous difference in the lives of abuse survivors and their children, and we are grateful for this timely and vital support.”