Comedic Relief Funraiser (Virtual Fundraiser) to Support Pace Women’s Justice Center
When a quarantine became the new “norm” Pace Women’s Justice Center (PWJC) pivoted in order to ensure accessibility of their services to their clients and to stay connected to their donor base. Knowing that home is not safe for everyone, PWJC has made sure to develop and implement new ways to help victims of domestic violence during the pandemic. The White Plains based organization provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence and elder abuse. They help stop the violence against victims and create a pathway to safety –through orders of protection, safety planning, custody orders, child/spousal support and divorce.
Victims of domestic violence (DV) and elder abuse are particularly at risk right now. In some places, these crimes have increased 20-30%, as victims shelter-in-place with abusive partners or caretakers. The stresses of job loss, financial and food insecurity, and the tensions of being cooped up together for long periods of time have exacerbated the tendency to violence for many abusers. For victims who are low-income, coming forward is difficult as they cannot afford to move out or hire an attorney, and traveling to stay with family members heightens the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Action by Pace Women’s Justice Center!
PWJC’s model of service has always focused on immediate access to justice. In response to the pandemic, they quickly transitioned to make sure their services were available to clients remotely. Working from home-based remote offices, the attorneys at the Pace Women’s Justice Center are using technology to assist DV victims and get them emergency help. PWJC is conducting remote video interviews to help victims with safety planning and sign documents digitally, and they are setting up remote court hearings via a secure Skype connection.
PWJC’s Executive Director Cindy Kanusher says, “We have always been there for victims of abuse whenever they need us. When COVID hit, we knew our clients needed us even more. We immediately pivoted to get all of our services up and running remotely so we could still be there for our clients in whatever format is necessary.”
Shelter in Place with Pace Women’s Justice Center
Meeting people where they were also became the driving force to a series of virtual events launched in May, S.I.P. with PWJC. These “shelter in place” events were developed to create community and support around their free legal services for victims of abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse. Creating community across the internet in order to support free legal services for their clients, these streaming events are open to the public.
The S.I.P. with PWJC series is scheduled to culminate on Thursday May 28th, with a Comedic Relief Funraiser, featuring live stand-up comedy. One virtual admission ticket allows you to stream the 1-hour comedy show event while you shelter in place. The event promises some comedic relief from the new “norm” featuring actor/comedian/writer Brad Zimmerman of “My Son The Waiter, A Jewish Tragedy,” and Best Comedian in NYC (as named by Backstage Magazine), Cory Kahaney. Registration for the event is through Eventbrite
While the other two SIP Programs have already occurred, you can still visit PWJC’s website to view them at www.law.pace.edu/wjc. The inaugural S.I.P. with PWJC event was called Let’s Talk About It and was an informational “Q and A” discussion, led by a journalist, regarding the effect of COVID-19 quarantines on victims of abuse. A follow-up S.I.P. with PWJC event focused on mental health awareness, Mindfulness in Uncertain Times with Dr. Sophie Kaufman, a qualified MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction) teacher at Pace University. Participants were guided through the benefits and fundamentals of a practice known to support wellness and reduces stress.
If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, help is available at 914-422-4188.