Created with a $90,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program is a collaborative effort to provide free legal services to low-income victims of domestic violence and create a cadre of knowledgeable and experienced lawyers dedicated to helping those affected by domestic abuse.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Created with a $90,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program is a collaborative effort to provide free legal services to low-income victims of domestic violence and create a cadre of knowledgeable and experienced lawyers dedicated to helping those affected by domestic abuse.
The program supports a Postgraduate Fellow and six Summer Fellows working in five agencies serving Newark and six New Jersey counties. Participating in the program along with Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice are:
Essex-Newark Legal Services Partners for Women and Justice Legal Services of New Jersey Northeast New Jersey Legal Services The Rachel Coalition Manavi Inc. WISE Women’s Center of Essex County College For the victim of domestic violence, virtually every encounter with an attorney is a victory. They receive the safety and security that comes from knowing and pursuing their legal rights and the empowerment of moving forward as they start a new journey free from abuse. Thanks to funding provided by the Verizon Foundation, Seton Hall Law School students also have the opportunity to have a life-changing experience assisting others in need by receiving specialized training in family law with an emphasis on domestic violence representation as they work under the guidance of experienced lawyers in a paid Summer Fellowship position.
THE FACTS According to the most recent State of New Jersey Domestic Violence Offense Report ( 2007 ), there were a total of 71,901 domestic violence cases reported in New Jersey in 2007; 26,192 of those occurred in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties, the areas served by the Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program. Many victims of domestic violence are trapped in abusive relationships because they are financially dependent upon their abuser and lack the resources to seek independence. Poverty leaves many women unable to obtain legal representation to gain protection from their abuser, leaving them at risk. THE NEED The demand for free or subsidized legal assistance to gain protection from an abuser far exceeds the availability of those services. To attain safety and empowerment, domestic violence victims typically need legal services that fall under the rubric of family law, including restraining orders, divorce, child custody, and child and spousal support matters. While many domestic violence victims are employed, many also lack the knowledge to effectively manage their finances. THE MISSION To meet the need for free legal services to assist low-income victims of domestic violence. To provide Seton Hall Law students with training and experience in the practice of family law, with an emphasis on domestic violence representation. To offer financial literacy and employment resources to assist with the rebuilding of lives. To create a pipeline of pro bono attorneys and form a network of lawyers committed to a common goal.
For further information, please contact Madeleine Kurtz, Associate Director of Public Interest at 973- 642-8242 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
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