Contacts: Mary E. Horgan, Pace Public Information,
Regina Pappalardo, Communications Coordinator, Pace Law School
Helene Norton-Russell, Coordinator of Public Relations,
Pace Women’s Justice Center
PACE WOMEN’S JUSTICE CENTER
EXPANDS EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
TO COMBAT DATING VIOLENCE
Westchester DA Jeanine Pirro to be guest speaker 1:00 pm Thursday, July 8, 2004, at Pace Law School
Grants from EILEEN FISHER, Junior League of Westchester on the Sound, Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation and Women’s Research and Education Fund will support training for high school students
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 6, 2004 — To help reduce dating violence at its most frequent source, the Pace Women’s Justice Center (WJC) began a training program last summer for boys at private, all-boys schools including Iona Prep., Fordham Prep., Archbishop Stepinac High School and Mount Saint Michael Academy, all in New York’s Westchester County and the New York City borough of the Bronx.
Now the program is expanding, and adding sections for girls as well.
From Wednesday, July 7, through Friday, July 9, 30 male and female student leaders from Gorton, Blind Brook, Horace Greeley, Good Council, Mount Saint Michael, Greenwich, Maria Regina and Stepinac high schools will attend a three-day intensive training seminar at the Pace Law School so they can take the program back to their schools this fall.
The seminar will also present featured speakers including Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester County District Attorney, Robert Mancuso, a Westchester criminal defense attorney, and Eric Ramos, a White Plains Police Department School Resource Officer. Pirro speaks Thursday, July 8, at 1:00 pm.
Epidemic. “There is an epidemic of violence in our culture today,” said Susan Pollet, executive director of the WJC. “Rates of violence in dating relationships among high school students have been measured at between 9 and 41 percent. Among high school girls surveyed between the ages of 14 to 18, about 20 percent reported that they had been hit, slapped, shoved or forced into sexual activity by a dating partner.”
“This is a male problem and it needs a male solution,” she adds, explaining the continuing emphasis on special education for boys. For girls, the classes teach how to forestall violence, in part by seeking legal protections and penalties.
“Teen dating violence is a serious problem that does not always receive the attention it deserves,” said District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. “With programs such as this, early intervention and education can interrupt the vicious cycle of violence before it escalates.”
The program educates student leaders about dating violence, domestic abuse and other dangerous behavior in the hopes of reducing its occurrence. Specifically it points out the dangers of rape, stalking and other forms of abuse including emotional, psychological and physical.
After the training sessions the student leaders will go back to their schools to help their peers understand what is and is not healthy behavior. The Pace Women’s Justice Center’s Teen Dating Violence Program session will include presentations, videos, and discussion of myths and realities.
Encouraging responsibility in teenage boys for their behavior is one of the immediate goals.
The program is financially supported by EILEEN FISHER, the Junior League of Westchester on the Sound, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation and the Women’s Research and Education Fund.
The Pace Women’s Justice Center pioneered 24/7 legal services to battered women. Staff attorneys carry beepers so they can be reached around the clock.
The Center has emerged as the national leader in first response legal services for battered women by partnering with the White Plains Department of Public Safety and other Westchester police departments so victims of domestic violence can receive legal services when they need them most, even at 2 o’clock in the morning.
Each year, the WJC represents over 1,500 battered women and their children in family court. Since 1999 law students have contributed over 10,000 hours of free legal assistance, which have helped garner more than $2,000,000 in child support for victims.
In addition, the Center conducts more than 100 training programs a year in preventing and dealing with domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assaults, and other problems, for thousands of judges, law enforcement officers, attorneys and law students. It has produced public service announcements for the federal Violence Against Women Office, written judicial training manuals and published dozens of articles.
Part of the Pace University School of Law, the WJC recently was given New York Governor George Pataki’s 2003 Justice, Freedom and Courage Award to End Domestic Violence.
Pace is a comprehensive, independent university committed to opportunity, teaching and learning, civic involvement and measurable outcomes. It is one of the ten founders of Project Pericles, developing education that instills lifelong participation in democratic processes. Pace has seven campuses, in New York City and Pleasantville, Briarcliff and White Plains, N.Y., and a Hudson Valley Center at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y. More than 14,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School. www.pace.edu.