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Pro Bono Projects

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”  - Arundhati Roy

As members of the SAGE project, students may participate in one or more pro bono opportunities.  Students may allocate time working for the project towards their pro bono hours required for graduation. 

Students will participate in trainings to work effectively with survivors of gender-based violence.  These trainings include legal presentations by attorneys on various topics, including domestic violence law, civil protection orders, criminal prosecution of sexual offenders, interviewing and working with trauma survivors, and crisis intervention for suicidal clients.

Below are brief descriptions of current project opportunities:

  • Domestic Violence Assistance Project (DVAP)

This project is a partnership with the Women’s Law Project (WLP) and Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA). It is designed to assist domestic violence victims who seek Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders in Philadelphia.  Volunteers meet with individuals who have filed petitions for PFA and provide them with vital information about service of process in general, how to prepare for the hearing, what to expect at the hearing, and how to address abuse after obtaining a PFA order.  Volunteers also provide litigants with information about available resources as well as informational brochures.  WLP and PLA provide training and supervision.

  • Criminal Court Observation Project

Volunteers will observe preliminary hearings in domestic violence cases and in criminal contempt hearings involving violations of protection orders to track inconsistencies and injustices in the judicial process.  Volunteers will be trained in the use of the project’s forms to record observations.  WLP will provide training on the observation process. 

  • Prosecutorial Research Project

This project is in conjunction with AEquitas, a national legal organization that works to improve the quality of justice in sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking cases by developing, evaluating and refining prosecution practices.  Students will perform discrete legal research and writing assignments under the supervision of an AEquitas attorney based at the Ortner Center on Family Violence at Penn’s School of Social Policy.  Students will transform their work product into advocacy and outreach material to distribute on the local or national level.  Individual training will be provided by supervising attorneys.

  • Sexual Violence in the Workplace Project (the Know Your Rights Initiative)

This project is in conjunction with Friends of Farmworkers and several Philadelphia-based community organizations that serve immigrant workers.   Students will lead two presentations per semester to Latina workers in Philadelphia, educating them on their legal rights in the workplace using an interactive, community empowerment method.  Students will be provided with a rigorous training explaining the curriculum, discussing cross cultural communication, group management skills, and how to work effectively with survivors of sexual trauma.  Note: The presentations will be in Spanish, so Spanish proficiency is required.