Community Projects


In May 2017, the JUDGE ELMO B. HUNTER LEGAL CENTER FOR VICTIMS OF CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN released a report entitled “Taking Aim at Family Violence: A Report on the Dallas County Gun Surrender Program.” The report is the culmination of a year-long study of a DALLAS COUNTY PROGRAM that provides a mechanism for domestic violence offenders, who are barred from possessing firearms under both federal and state law, a safe and secure mechanism to surrender their weapons. The authors analyzed the Dallas program as well as similar programs in other jurisdictions to provide stakeholders with recommendations and a roadmap for effectively reducing intimate partner femicides due to gun violence.

The Hunter Center continues to take a leadership role in Dallas County's efforts to remove firearms from the hands of prohibited possessors.  Students and faculty have conducted numerous trainings for judges charged with ordering perpetrators of intimate partner violence to surrender their weapons and participate in the Dallas County Gun Surrender Task Force.

Most recently, the Hunter Center produced educational materials for survivors of domestic violence in Texas, including the website, to provide survivors with critical information about the law, their rights, and their safety.

Professor Nanasi and Hunter Center students at a press conference announcing the release of “Taking Aim at Family Violence: A Report on the Dallas County Gun Surrender Program.

Combatting the Repeal of No Fault Divorce in Texas

Repealing No Fault Divorce White Paper   

The Hunter Center, along with other SMU scholars, successfully combatted efforts by the Texas legislature to repeal no-fault divorce—and return the state to a bygone era in which marriages could not be terminated without the assignment of blame. In a white paper, the Hunter Center details how requiring proof of fault in order to obtain a divorce would increase the risk of physical and psychological harm to domestic violence victims and their loved ones. The white paper also explains how a repeal of no-fault divorce would have adverse financial consequences on survivors, the court system, and the State of Texas.

The Hunter Center’s white paper is a companion piece to a white paper authored by Professor Joanna Grossman and Elicia Grilley Green of SMU Dedman School of Law. That paper traces the historical and legal origins of no-fault divorce in the United States and explains why no fault divorce is an appropriate and necessary option for the dissolution of an unsustainable marriage. 

Legislative Advocacy 

Hunter Center students are actively engaged in legislative advocacy to improve the lives of survivors of human trafficking in the state of Texas. Students worked in partnership with the nonprofit organization New Friends New Life to advance a number of anti-trafficking initiatives in the 2017 Texas Legislative session, culminating in the testimony of Hunter Center student Mackenzie Wortley on H.B. 2509, a bill that would increase access to Orders of Nondisclosure for survivors.

Karnes Family Immigration Detention Center Pop-Up Clinic 

The JUDGE ELMO B. HUNTER LEGAL CENTER FOR VICTIMS OF CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN sponsored the School of Law’s first Pop-up Clinic over the 2017 Spring Break. Eight students sacrificed their vacation time to travel to the Karnes Family Immigration Detention Center to assist mothers and children being detained at the facility in their pursuit of asylum in the United States. 
Media coverage: 
ABA Journal (3/7/17)
NBC-5 (3/10/17) 
Al Dia (DMN) (3/7/17)
Dallas Morning News (3/7/17)
WBAP 820/KLIF 570 (3/8/17)
SMU (Blog) (News)
Texas Lawyer

Due to the overwhelming success of the Pop-Up Clinic, the Spring Break program is now a permanent part of the law school's clinical program.

Community Education 

The JUDGE ELMO B. HUNTER LEGAL CENTER FOR VICTIMS OF CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN regularly engages in community education projects that provide critical information and resources about domestic abuse, sexual violence and human trafficking. Examples of our community education include:

  • Producing a video for the Vickery Meadow Learning Center, a nonprofit organization that teaches English literacy skills in low income, highly diverse neighborhoods of Dallas, about domestic violence laws in the United States.
  • Presenting at the 2017 International Conference on Crimes Against Women, where students provided information about Orders of Nondisclosure for survivors of human trafficking.