Pace University Women’s Justice Center Benefit Dinner

“A Celebration of Justice for Women”

To Honor:

Victoria L. Lutz, Esq.

The Hon. Suzi Oppenheimer

Cristina Torre, of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation

White Plains, N. Y. – September 28, 2004 — The Women’s Justice Center (WJC) of Pace University School of Law will honor its former director Victoria L. Lutz, Esq., New York State Senator, Suzi Oppenheimer, and Cristina Torre, of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation at “A Celebration of Justice for Women,” the Center’s annual benefit dinner, to be held at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill in Tarrytown on Wednesday, October 6, 2004.

“In the United States a woman is battered by a man – usually an intimate partner—every 15 seconds, raped every two minutes, and murdered by a spouse or boyfriend every six hours,” said Pace Women’s Justice Center Executive Director Susan L. Pollet, Esq. “We have become a national leader in addressing these problems and need financial support to build on our successes.”

Tables are available from $1500 to $100,000. Individual tickets are $150-$1,000. For reservations or more information about the dinner, please contact Helene Norton-Russell at (914) 422-4069.

The evening’s honorees reflect a range of approaches from legal advocacy and service to legislation to education.

Victoria L. Lutz, Esq., is now Executive Director of the Crossroads Safehouse in Fort Collins, Colorado. As Executive Director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center for twelve years, she provided the guidance and vision for the Center to grow from 1 1/3 staff members to a staff of over twenty. A former prosecutor with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and former Adjunct Professor at the Pace University School of Law, Ms. Lutz has created and conducted gender violence training programs for prosecutors, civil and criminal defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement personnel, advocates and other members of the community-response network since 1994. Her training sessions have taken her from Congressional and New York State hearings to more than half of the 50 U.S. states and Tanzania. Her publications span books, law reviews and journals. Ms. Lutz will receive the “Creative Vision for Women’s Justice Award” for being the “visionary who continues to inspire us all in the fight against violence against women.”

For her dedicated work in the New York State Legislature on behalf of women and children’s issues, the Hon. Suzi Oppenheimer will accept the “Diane White Legal Advocacy Award.” Senator Oppenheimer chairs the Senate Democratic Task Force on Women’s Issues and has remained a strong proponent of domestic violence legislation.  Over the years, Senator Oppenheimer has initiated a variety of legislative grants for victims of domestic violence and made possible projects addressing domestic violence.  Several recent projects include a dating violence video in conjunction with My Sister’s Place and the Junior League of Central Westchester, a video on Children and the Effects of Domestic Violence with the Pace Women’s Justice Center, and Victims Assistance Services projects.

Cristina L. Torre, of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation has dedicated herself to domestic violence. A former Head Directress and educator in Montessori schools, Ms. Torre and the Joe Torre Foundation embody the ideal that every child has the right to be safe at home. The thrust of the Foundation is education aimed at breaking the cycle of domestic violence. Ms. Torre’s goal is to use education to eliminate the pain of abuse.  Her work as an educator and through the Joe Torre Foundation is why Ms. Torre will receive the “Gail Katz Memorial Award.” (Gail Katz was murdered by her abusive husband almost twenty years ago. He was convicted in the year 2000.)

Before the dinner, the Silent Auction in the Pavilion Promenade will offer more than 100 donated items, including a stay at a beautiful country bed and breakfast, stays at a variety of four-star hotels, spa treatments, jewelry, private figure skating lessons, dinners for two at many popular Westchester restaurants, and enough tickets to sports events and signed sports memorabilia to keep attendees’ favorite sports fans happy for an entire year.

Proceeds from the dinner and silent auction support the Women’s Justice Center, a non-profit organization that annually conducts trainings for thousands of judges, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and law students. The WJC has pioneered the 24/7 division of legal services to battered women by partnering with police departments and hospitals, so that 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 provides direct representation to more than 1,500 victims of domestic violence and their children. Annually, the WJC conducts more than 100 domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assaults, and other training programs. It also has produced public service announcements for the Violence Against Women’s Office of the federal government concerning domestic violence, written judicial training manuals, and published many articles on gender violence. Its help lines address over 1,200 calls per year.

Founded in 1976, Pace Law School is a New York Law School with a suburban campus in White Plains, N.Y., twenty miles north of New York City. Part of Pace University, the school offers the J.D. program for full-time and part-time day and evening students. Its postgraduate program includes the LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees in Environmental Law and an LL.M. in Comparative Legal Studies. Pace has one of the nation’s top-rated Environmental Law programs and its Clinical Education program also is nationally ranked, offering clinics in domestic violence prosecution, environmental law, securities arbitration, and criminal justice in addition to disability rights.

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