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Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program

Empowering Victims of Domestic Violence

Since 2009, the Verizon Foundation has generously supported numerous domestic violence intervention programs implemented by Seton Hall Law School – in conjunction with numerous community partners - to protect domestic violence victims. Through an initial grant of $90,000, Seton Hall Law devised a collaborative program which provided an opportunity for six law students to receive specialized hands-on training representing victims of domestic violence in legal service agencies throughout Northern New Jersey. The program also supported a one-year Postgraduate Fellowship allowing one recent law school graduate to receive intensive training. The program incorporated job preparation workshops and financial literacy training for the victims, as well, to help them lead independent lives. The program continued successfully in 2011 with a $45,000 grant. In 2012, the Verizon Foundation modified its mission to focus on preventive measures:

“The Verizon Foundation funds programs which aim to provide maternal and/or mental health support for survivors, prevent or help mitigate negative impacts for children exposed to domestic violence or programs for seniors that help provide awareness and training on domestic violence prevention.”

In response, Seton Hall Law School modified its grant to focus on “Legal Interventions as Preventive Measures,” and received an additional $45,000 grant. According to the UNICEF Report, “Behind Closed Doors: The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children,”

“The single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life is whether or not they grow up in a home where there is domestic violence. Studies from various countries support the findings that rates of abuse are higher among women whose husbands were abused as children or who saw their mothers being abused.”

In response to this and other data, Seton Hall Law School created a new, multifaceted Verizon Public Interest Fellowship Program to target and assist mothers with children in homes where domestic violence is taking place by providing legal interventions to protect the children and their mothers from future abuse. Timely and effective intervention can prevent the cycle of violence from continuing. Components of the project include:

  1. A Verizon Postgraduate Fellow, placed at Partners for Women and Justice
  2. Pediatric and adolescent mental health services for children who have been exposed to violence but whose well-being is not currently being addressed by DYFS or other agencies, provided by Jewish Family Services of MetroWest
  3. Batterer psychosocial treatment
  4. Four Verizon Summer Fellowships in which students worked at
    1. Essex Newark Legal Services
    2. Legal Services of New Jersey
    3. The Office of the Law Guardian
  5. For further information on the Verizon Foundation, visit http://www.verizonfoundation.org/our-focus/.


  6. For further information, please direct questions to the Office of Career Services (OCS) at lawcareer@shu.edu or 973-642-8746.