Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Lowey Announces $2.3 Million in Federal Funds to Combat Violence against Women in Rockland, Westchester

September 12, 2017
Press Release

Lowey Announces $2.3 Million in Federal Funds to Combat Violence against Women in Rockland, Westchester

NEW CITY, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), along with local domestic violence and legal service organizations, held a press conference today at Center for Safety & Change, Inc. in New City to announce $2,309,007 in federal funding to assist adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Rockland and Westchester counties.

“Today is about affirming our shared commitment to supporting and empowering survivors of violence and abuse,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Every member of our community deserves protection from domestic abuse, sexual assault, and violence in any form. Center for Safety & Change, My Sisters’ Place, and Pace Women’s Justice Center do great work for survivors in Rockland and Westchester counties, and this funding will help them continue to enhance and expand services for the adults and youth they serve.”

$1.1 Million for Center for Safety & Change in New City

Center for Safety & Change, a domestic violence survivor services provider, has received two awards, totaling $1,109,007, to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes in Rockland County. Awarded through the Justice for Families Program within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), $699,997 will enable Center for Safety & Change to help survivors of violence by, among other things, hiring a Spanish speaking bilingual attorney to provide civil legal assistance and providing supervised visitation and safe exchange for families with a history of domestic violence. Center for Safety & Change will implement this grant in partnership with VCS of Rockland County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rockland County, Domestic Violence Program for Men, and Rockland County Integrated Domestic Violence and the Family Court. The second award, $409,010 through the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant (LAV) Program, will finance quality representation to primarily Latina immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. Center for Safety & Change will implement this grant in partnership with the Legal Aid Society of Rockland County.

“This grant will allow Center for Safety & Change to do more work with the immigrant community in Rockland County, particular the Spanish-speaking community,” said Elizabeth Santiago, Executive  Director of Center for Safety & Change, Inc. “We saw a 61 percent increase in requests from Spanish-speaking victims and survivors in need of legal representation from 2015-2016. We are pleased that this funding will allow us to meet this growing need by hiring a full time bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney and an additional full time bilingual Spanish-speaking advocate who can communicate with and fully serve victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking by providing free and confidential services such as advocacy, accompaniment, and representation in Family Court, Civil Court, and Federal Immigration Court. In addition, this grant will allow our partner, Legal Aid Society of Rockland County, to provide four free legal clinics per year to the Center’s staff and the community on issues of housing, landlord/tenant law, and consumer law.”

$600,000 to My Sisters’ Place in White Plains

My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor services provider in White Plains, has received $600,000 through the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant (LAV) Program to provide quality representation to primarily Latina immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking in Westchester County. My Sisters’ Place will implement this grant in partnership with the Westchester Medical Center.

“This significant, continued funding will enable My Sisters' Place to provide critical services to immigrant victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,” said Karen Cheeks-Lomax, Chief Executive Officer of My Sisters’ Place. “In the last year alone, with support from the Department of Justice, My Sisters' Place has served more than 300 individuals.  We look forward to continuing to serve these particularly vulnerable victims in collaboration with our new partners, Westchester Medical Center.”

$600,000 to Pace University Women’s Justice Center

Pace University Women’s Justice Center, a legal services organization, has been awarded $600,000 through the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant (LAV) Program to provide quality representation to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking in Westchester and Putnam counties. Pace Women’s Justice Center will implement this grant in partnership with the Westchester Community Opportunity Program, the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center, Hope’s Door, the Westchester Independent Living Center, and the Community Resource Center of Larchmont and Mamaroneck.

“As the leading civil legal services provider addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse in Westchester and Putnam Counties, Pace Women’s Justice Center is thrilled to receive this grant from the Office on Violence Against Women,” said Cindy Kanusher, Esq., Executive Director of Pace Women’s Justice Center. “Access to legal services is one of the most critical factors in a victim’s journey to safety.  With this funding, PWJC, along with our community partners, will be able to help hundreds more victims and survivors of abuse.”

Congresswoman Lowey believes that every person has the basic right to live free from fear and violence. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, she successfully fought to increase VAWA funding to $481.5 million in the FY 2017 omnibus, $1.5 million more than the FY 2016 funding level. Additionally, Congresswoman Lowey helped secure passage of the first federal Violence Against Women Act in 1994.

Click here for additional photos from the press conference.

###