Shari Lee Genser

  • Hosted by Essex-Newark Legal Services
  • Sponsored by Bill Brockett Public Interest Fellowship
  • Service location Newark, New Jersey
  • Law school Seton Hall University School of Law
  • Issue area Domestic Violence
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Shari helped young adult domestic violence victims escape or prevent abusive relationships through outreach and education in local schools and community organizations, legal representation for domestic violence victims in Family Court proceedings, and advocacy for a more coordinated juvenile justice response to domestic violence among young adults.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project

Dating violence seems to make the headlines only when a celebrity is involved. Yet the U.S. Department of Justice has found that young women ages 16 to 24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group. Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused in a dating relationship. Young adults who experience abusive relationships are more likely to do poorly in school, binge drink, attempt suicide, and get into fights. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships. In Essex County, N.J., socio-economic factors coupled with a significant reduction in resources for free legal services have created a gap in services for young adult domestic violence victims. They need legal advocacy to protect them from their abusers, as well as education on the warning signs of domestic violence and how to seek legal and other support services, which can help break the cycle of violence.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Shari:

  • Assisted 250 low-income families in matters such as domestic violence restraining orders, child custody and visitation, spousal and child support, divorce, and remedies pursuant to the New Jersey Safe Housing Act
  • Established and maintained a referral network with other domestic violence service providers in Essex County
  • Organized and presented seminars for more than 1,200 students and community members on domestic violence and healthy relationships at various schools, community organizations, and partner agencies
  • Recruited and mentored volunteer law students and lawyers to expand capacity for representing young adult domestic violence victims

Where are they now?

Shari continues to provide legal services to domestic violence victims with various family law issues as a Staff Attorney at Essex-Newark Legal Services.

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