Pace Women's Justice Center Opens New Walk-in Clinic

June 29, 2018
PWJC Ribbon Cutting

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University is pleased to announce the opening of a new office for the Pace Women’s Justice Center (PWJC).  The 4,000 square-foot office space, which was the former Student Life Center on the Pace Law School Campus, will include a new walk-in legal clinic and will allow the center to serve as many as 500 more clients a year.

PWJC is the leading civil legal services and training provider addressing domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse in Westchester and Putnam counties, providing free legal help to thousands each year who would otherwise not be able to afford representation. The new $1.5 million office space was funded by Pace University and private donors including a $100,000 grant from Impact 100 Westchester.

The center opening was attended by Pace University President Marvin Krislov, Pace Law Dean Horace Anderson, PWJC Executive Director Cindy Kanusher and elected officials from across Westchester.

“Pace University has always been dedicated to helping people and changing lives,” said Marvin Krislov, president of Pace. “The Pace Women’s Justice Center at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law does the important work of serving as a much-needed resource for some of the most vulnerable in our community. With this new center, I’m very pleased that we’ll be able to help even more families.”

“We are proud that the Women’s Justice Center has been a part of the Pace Law community for the past 25 years,” said Interim Dean Horace Anderson. “The PWJC provides critical services to thousands of clients a year. It also provides an opportunity for our students to work with supervising attorneys as they advocate and seek justice for women and families in need. We look forward to opening their new space today.”

PWJC currently serves over 3,000 clients per year. It is moving from a small space adjacent to the Pace Law campus that was not sufficient to meet the growing numbers of survivors who are in need of their services. PWJC’s attorneys assist women in and out of the courtroom, helping them to obtain orders of protection, custody of their children, child support and divorces. Victims of interpersonal violence have many needs arising from the abuse, and PWJC believes that clients do better in the long term if they are treated holistically.  Thus, PWJC connects women and the elderly with a broad range of social services such as shelter, medical care, counseling and immigration assistance, in order to help them find a pathway to safety.  PWJC also trains social service providers and police officers across the region in how to handle cases of abuse. 

Cindy Kanusher, Executive Director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center, said the clinic would be the first of its kind in Westchester and Putnam providing free legal services without an appointment in a warm and welcoming space, to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.  She said the clinic would be a safe alternative to PWJC’s satellite offices in the White Plains and Yonkers courthouses for clients who are afraid to go to court.  Many victims fear facing their abuser in the courtroom, and immigrant victims are often afraid of the judicial system and deportation.  PWJC serves clients without regard to immigration status.

“Domestic Violence, sexual assault and elder abuse are pervasive problems that affect communities all over the country, including ours,’’ said Kanusher. “The explosion of the #MeToo Campaign demonstrates the need for the Pace Women’s Justice Center’s walk-in clinic; more victims of abuse are speaking out and needing help and the clinic will remove obstacles that many victims face when coming forward. We know that the opening of this clinic will save lives. We will give people the critical help that they need to feel safe, and we will be at their side every step of the way throughout the legal process.”

She added, “We are so thankful to everyone who generously contributed to the development of the new walk-in clinic, especially our partners Pace Law and Impact 100 Westchester.’’

“The Pace Women’s Justice Center’s walk-in clinic will provide much-need guidance and assistance to hundreds more survivors every year,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. “The families who will be served by this clinic deserve justice and to live their lives in safety, and PWJC will help make that a reality, as it has for so many others in our community. I am grateful for the work that PWJC does, and look forward to continuing to fight alongside them on behalf of survivors of abuse.”

"Impact100 Westchester is thrilled to have awarded the Pace Women's Justice Center with a $100,000 transformational Project Grant to support their vision for a new walk-in clinic, which will increase access to their critical legal services for victims of interpersonal abuse in Westchester County, said Susan Bloom, Co-President.  “We are especially proud that PWJC was able to leverage our grant dollars to exponentially increase their impact.  Congratulations!"

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About Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, (Pace Law) offers J.D. and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a series of joint degree programs including a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, NY, opened its doors in 1976 and has over 8,500 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. For more information visit http://law.pace.edu

About the Pace Women’s Justice Center

The Pace Women’s Justice Center (PWJC) is a self-funded nonprofit legal center located at Elisabeth Haub School of Law, under the 501(c)(3) status of Pace University. Each year, PWJC provides free legal services to nearly 3,000 victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse, as well as conducts or participates in over 140 training and outreach events. Serving Westchester and Putnam Counties, PWJC’s mission is to pursue justice for victims and prevent abuse through quality legal services, community partnerships, education, and awareness. With an experienced staff and a team of dedicated volunteers, including attorneys, other professionals, and students, PWJC has built an effective, coordinated community response to interpersonal violence.

(For more information: www.law.pace.edu/wjc)

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