FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary E. Horgan (914) 923-2798, email@example.com
PACE WOMEN’S JUSTICE CENTER RECEIVES GOVERNOR PATAKI’S
JUSTICE AWARD FOR COMBATING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
24/7 legal services represent more than 1500 battered women a year
WHITE PLAINS — October 14, 2003 — The Pace Women’s Justice Center has been honored with New York State’s Justice Award. This is the third year of Governor George Pataki’s initiative designed to recognize individuals and organizations whose exemplary actions are particularly innovative and demonstrate a long-term commitment to ending domestic violence.
The Pace Women’s Justice Center is rapidly emerging as a leader in Westchester County in developing legal services for battered women.
Part of the Pace University School of Law, it won the Justice Award for its 24/7 domestic violence legal services, its representation in family court of over 1,500 battered women and their children a year, and its many other training and legal information programs and services. Since 1999, law students have contributed over 8,500 hours of free legal assistance, which have helped garner more than $2,000,000 in child support for victims of family violence.
The WJC pioneered 24/7 legal services to battered women in Westchester county 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.
In addition to representing over 4,000 victims of domestic violence in the last four years, the Center annually conducts more than 100 training programs 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.
Its help lines address over 800 calls per year.
“On behalf of the dedicated staff of the Pace Women’s Justice Center and our clients for whom we seek justice each and every day, I want to thank the Governor and the award selection committee for this great honor.” stated Victoria L. Lutz, the attorney who is WJC executive director. “I hope the initiatives Governor Pataki is promoting to combat domestic violence will be adopted by all states so that we can eradicate violence against women nationwide.”
The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) is the lead agency overseeing the Justice, Freedom and Courage Awards initiative. Charlotte A. Watson, executive director of OPDV, said the recipients have demonstrated “tenacity, creativity, and brilliance.” The award was formally presented at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany earlier this month.
In addition to Justice Award presented to the Pace Women’s Justice Center, New York Giants Running Back Tiki Barber received the Visionary Award. Courage and Freedom awards went to the Albany Police Department Domestic Violence Program, Lucia Davis-Raiford of Brooklyn, A New Hope Center in Owego, Mayra Skeete of Greenwood Lake, Demirjian Salons of White Plains, Child Protective/Domestic Violence Collaborations in multiple locations throughout the state, Jessica Pirro-Benigni of Buffalo and Maria Santiago of the Bronx.
Governor Pataki also proclaimed October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the state, local organizations will be taking part in activities designed to raise awareness of domestic violence, ultimately helping to save the lives of victims and their children.
Pace is a comprehensive, independent University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County, and a Hudson Valley Center located at Stewart Airport in New Windsor. Nearly 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