Southern Methodist University has announced it will open a new legal center that will provide services for the victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking and other crimes against women.
Ray L. and Nancy Ann Hunter Hunt have committed $5 million for the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women. The center, to be part of SMU’s Dedman School of Law, is being named in honor of Nancy Ann Hunt’s late father, who was a Missouri state and federal judge.
Dedman students working in the new center will provide legal services such as protective orders; divorce, custody and child support agreements; and assistance with credit and housing issues.
Students will not just help women – they’ll also gain experience and “see the human faces behind related legal issues,” an SMU news release said.
Nancy Ann Hunt says her father’s main interest as a judge was the “well-being of individuals through fair treatment and protection under the law.”
“Participating law students will enter the legal profession with a deeper understanding of the victims of exploitation, trafficking and abuse and what they need for their lives to be restored,” she said in the news release. “Their suffering may be hidden from our sight and may be uncomfortable to acknowledge publicly. But through the availability of free legal services, we hope they will feel empowered to come forward and obtain help.”
The Hunter Legal Center plans to develop partnerships with community organizations such as Genesis Women’s Shelter, which helps victims of domestic violence, and New Friends New Life, which helps victims of sex trafficking.