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Webinar Archive:  Expert Witness Series


Preparing for Your First Case as a

Domestic Violence Expert Witness

Webinar date:  June 5, 2013



This webinar is intended to help new expert witnesses (who will be providing general testimony on domestic violence and/or sexual assault) be as prepared as possible when they take the stand for the first time.  The webinar provides a "to-do" list that aspiring experts can use to help them negotiate the court setting, organize their thoughts and information, and respond to questions about their training and experience.  In addition, participants hear some examples of common pitfalls faced by new experts, and tips for handling them.

Presenters discuss a) how to prepare even before taking your first case; b) what you need from the proffering attorney; c) why it's important to sharpen up your teaching skills; d) putting your "tool kit" together; e) getting ready for voir dire/qualification; and f) types of practical logistical information you'll need before going to court.

About the Presenters

Scott Miller has worked in the women's movement since 1985, and has been with the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project since 2000.  Scott coordinates Duluth's Coordinated Community Response to domestic violence under a demonstration project funded by OVW called the Blueprint for Safety.  Serving as both system advocate and coordinator of the men's nonviolence program, he is instrumental in the evolving work being done in Duluth.  Scott trains nationally and internationally on the components of the Duluth Model of intervention and helps develop new resource materials and curricula for use in communities working to end violence against women.  Scott has also co-authored the new DAIP men's nonviolence curriculum Creating a Process of Change for Men Who Batter.  Scott is a contract trainer and forensic interviewer for First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center in Duluth.  Scott is responsible for conducting forensically sound interviews of children suspected of being physically or sexually abused as part of a criminal investigation.  Scott also conducts trainings nationally on how to conduct interviews with children and work from a multidisciplinary team approach in the investigation of child abuse.  Scott works independently as an expert witness in criminal and civil trials to explain how the tactics of abusers and the associated risks generated by battering are linked to the counterintuitive behaviors of victims.

Melissa Scaia, M.P.A., is the Executive Director of Advocates for Family Peace (AFFP), a six-program agency that provides services to families experiencing domestic violence and child abuse in Itasca and northern St. Louis counties, Minnesota.  She started in the battered women's movement as the youth advocate focusing on individual and community advocacy related to teen dating violence.  As the Executive Director of AFFP, she provides leadership to the organization coordinates the Itasca and St. Louis county coordinated community responses to domestic violence, co-facilitates a group with men who batter, and co-facilitates a group with women who have used violence.  She provides training and technical assistance as a consultant for Praxis International and serves as a faculty member for the Family Violence Department for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.  She has also conducted training for the Battered Women's Justice Project, Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Program, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.  She has contributed to numerous publications related to supervised visitation and domestic violence.  She recently co-wrote a curriculum and DVD for working with men who batter as fathers entitled, Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter.  She also recently partnered in authoring a curriculum with Ellen Pence, PhD, and Laura Connelly for working with women who have used violence in intimate relationships entitled, Turning Points:  A Nonviolence Curriculum for Women. She also testifies as an expert witness on domestic violence in criminal court cases.

Click here to access recording.  A copy of the PowerPoint (and any other documents from the webinar) is available by clicking here.

Click here to access recording (which includes the PowerPoint). 


A copy of the PowerPoint (and any other documents from the webinar) is available by clicking here.

This webinar series is supported by Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K129 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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