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Webinar Archive:  Expert Witness Series

Webinar date:  December 3, 2015



When victims of battering are involved in civil legal proceedings, domestic violence experts can help victims and their attorneys ensure that fact finders do not make legal decisions influenced by myths and misconceptions about survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence.  In this webinar, Margaret Bassett and Kirsten Faisal, two experienced expert witnesses, discuss ways that domestic violence experts can help civil attorneys prepare for cases involving victims of battering by educating attorneys about domestic violence, consulting with attorneys about how victims' cases might be impacted — negatively or positively — by evidence of domestic violence, and helping attorneys prepare to litigate cases.  The presenters also discuss some specific ways that experts can be helpful in custody, termination of parental rights, and civil protection order hearings.

About the Presenters

Margaret Bassett, LPC-S, has worked in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault for 30 years.  Her career encompasses diverse work settings.  She has worked in the Criminal Justice System with victims of felony intimate partner violence crimes.  She has worked as a counselor and manager in various domestic violence shelters/resource centers.  She has participated in community collaborations and was a member of the SafePlace Risk-Management Team.  She is adjunct faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.

Ms. Bassett is the Director of Expert Witness Programs at the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in the University of Texas' School of Social Work in Austin.  She provides expert witness testimony in criminal and civil intimate partner violence cases and has been doing so since 2008.

Kirsten Faisal has been the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence since 1995, where she works on developing public policy, and provides professional support to agencies that impact battered women and their children.  She is on the steering committee for the Batterer's Education Program for the Iowa Department of Corrections; has trained for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and the Department of Human Services; served as chair for the Iowa Domestic Abuse Death Review Team, and has provided expert witness testimony in civil and criminal domestic abuse cases.  She graduated with honors from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in anthropology and spent eleven years doing crisis intervention work with survivors of abuse.

Suggested Participants

This webinar is helpful for both new and experienced domestic violence expert witnesses, as well as people who are considering working as an expert in the future.  This may include social workers, academics, and other professionals who might provide general testimony about battering and its effects.  Additionally, we encourage prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other attorneys who represent victims of domestic violence or sexual assault to participate.

Note:  Due to technical difficulties the recording of this webinar does not include the PowerPoint presentation; it includes only the audio presentation.  We encourage you to get the PowerPoint (see link below) and follow along.  We think the transitions between the slides are pretty easy to figure out.

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


Domestic Violence Expert Witnesses in
Civil Legal Proceedings

Click here to access recording (which, due to technical issues, does not include 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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