Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. Sanctuary works to end gender violence through three key areas: direct service; outreach, education, and training; and systems-change advocacy. Every year, Sanctuary empowers thousands of adults and children to move from fear and abuse to safety and stability, transforming lives through a comprehensive range of services.
Sanctuary for Families seeks a motivated individual who is committed to supporting victims of gender violence and dedicated to achieving justice for women. The Director’s Intern will assist the Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP) and the Immigration Intervention Project (IIP).
The Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP) is an innovative project at Sanctuary for Families that helps victims of domestic violence escape abuse by providing them with advocates when they enter Family Court seeking legal protection against their abusers. CAP recruits, trains, supervises, and mentors hundreds of students every year who assist domestic violence victims by helping them draft and file their petitions, advocating for them during court appearances, educating them about their legal rights and remedies, and providing them with safety planning and referrals to community resources, such as shelters and counseling.
The Immigration Intervention Project (IIP) provides outreach, advocacy, and direct legal representation to immigrant victims of domestic and other forms of gender violence, including sex trafficking, in order to help them formalize their immigration status and access their rights in the United States. In addition to providing direct legal representation and related legislative advocacy work to further the rights of our clients, IIP strongly believes in informing and empowering potential clients and the public about the legal rights and immigration relief available to immigrant victims of gender violence. To this end, IIP closely collaborates with a wide spectrum of community-based organizations, religious institutions, schools, and hospitals in the New York City metropolitan area.
The Director’s Intern will work closely with CAP and IIP. The intern will assist the CAP attorneys with case work and preparation for court. This may include assistance with client interviews; accompaniment of clients and attorneys to court; drafting petitions for orders of protection; coordinating, attending, and participating in CAP training sessions; and providing general support to the project. The Director’s Intern will also assist IIP attorneys with their client work. This may include participating in case work, which includes immigration legal representation to foreign-born victims of domestic violence, gender violence, and sex trafficking; being involved in legislative advocacy on issues impacting Sanctuary’s immigrant clients; and assisting with outreach and presentations to immigrant communities.
Sanctuary recognizes advocacy work as critically important to changing the social and institutional frameworks that perpetuate gender violence. Our advocacy has led to the passage of life-saving city and state-level legislation, and changed policies affecting our clients at major governmental agencies. In addition to the direct service work provided through CAP and IIP, the Director’s Intern will have the chance to join Sanctuary’s agency-wide working groups to help craft and implement the agency’s policy campaigns in areas including campus sexual assault, cyber sexual abuse, and forced marriage. These campaigns will see Sanctuary staff, supporters, and survivor-leaders advocate for improved policies and legislation.
2018 Intern Reflection
My internship at Sanctuary for Families has been eye-opening and amazing, with experiences that have offered me valuable opportunities of growth. The internship started with an orientation week that consisted of conversations and lectures on each of the projects that Sanctuary for Families operates. Each conversation was led by the head of the different departments and the department staff attorneys, which allowed us to quickly realize how passionate, knowledgeable, and hard-working the staff here are. After the orientation, I was quickly assimilated into the two different projects I would be working within which was the Courtroom Advocates Program (CAP) and the Immigration Intervention Program (IIP).
The number of opportunities that are given to me on a day to day basis are astounding. One day I would be inputting the client and CAP advocate information into the database and the next day I would be writing a newspaper article about our new CAP program focused on assisting sexual assault victims. Each day allowed me to learn new skills and knowledge in a multitude of areas from immigration policy which is continuously changing, to family law court filings for orders of protection. My supervisors within IIP and CAP allowed me the freedom and independence to lead my own cases and spearhead the projects they assigned me while still being available to answer all my questions. Many of my cases gave me the opportunity to interact with clients, and that was my favorite part of the internship. Being able to use a client conversation and transform it into a green card for the client made it worth it and allowed me to learn how the immigration world works.
My time with Sanctuary for Families’ was spent between the main office in lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Family Justice Center. Between the two locations, the staff are kind, passionate, intelligent and willing to answer any question. The organization motto centers around a holistic model of services which means that they provide legal, clinical, financial and life supports to all clients all within one organization, and that is how the staff structure their interactions. So, don’t be afraid to ask for anything from how to write an affidavit, which I asked about, to where the first-aid kit is. As to the dress code within this organization, most of the attorneys, supervisors and interns wear business casual.
My advice for any students who are considering interning with Sanctuary for Families would be to go for it. The work this organization does is hard but important. The clients we work with are survivors of immense violence, and they are also the strongest individuals I have had the opportunity to meet. This internship changed my outlook on my future and solidified the fact that I want to work in public law within immigration.
Mariana De Leon '20
2017 Intern Reflection
My internship at Sanctuary for Families has offered me experiences that I was not expecting, but nonetheless surpassed expectations. The internship began with a week of trainings, allowing interns to familiarize themselves with the organization. The trainings were led by heads of departments, showing the cohort of 17 interns that Sanctuary's leadership considered us valuable and important enough to devote significant time towards. This was an early indicator of the overall office culture - the staff here are supportive and kind to each other, and that extends to interns. I see firsthand how busy the attorneys are, but they are always willing to answer questions or simply chat with a curious intern. Furthermore, many different people around the office have trusted me with tasks and assignments, showing me the level of respect staff members have for our competence.
My day to day experience ranges from ordinary intern duties, like inputting case data into our case tracking system, Salesforce, to in-person contact with our clients. I have helped with client intakes, translating affidavits from Spanish to English, writing individual monetary grant proposals to help support our clients, drafted legal motions for our attorneys, and translated attorney conversations. As an aspiring public-interest attorney, I have been particularly thrilled to work alongside both family law and immigration attorneys. The close exposure to both varieties of law has allowed me to broaden my public interest law experiences.
I have also enjoyed working on two separate, special projects during my time with Sanctuary. After the first week of training, nine interns were tasked with developing the materials to launch a national social media campaign to spread awareness of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a special immigration classification that can lead to legal permanent residency for certain eligible individuals. The project allowed me to utilize my photography, videography, and editing skills as I helped create video and photo campaigns for our SIJS project. Next, I have been tasked with coordinating, planning, and executing a running group for select young adult male clients. This project has allowed me to make deep connections with a handful of young men, as well as assume the responsibility of planning an independent project and seeing it through to fruition.
Other students should apply for this Director's Internship if they are hoping to experience a wide variety of responsibilities, client contact, and a supportive office staff. Sanctuary also offers structured programming for its interns, including a weekly informational lunch series, self-care strategy workshops, organized meals with members of the Sanctuary board, and company participation in New York City's massive Pride parade. Prospective interns should hone their organizational skills beforehand - multiple cases and assignments from different supervisors can pile up and befuddle an unsuspecting intern! Finally, prospective interns should keep in mind that clients at Sanctuary are often survivors of immense trauma, and even routine intern duties like case data entry will bring you into close and prolonged contact with their stories. I don't mean to scare you away from the crucial and life-changing work done at Sanctuary; instead, I hope to prepare you.
Eduardo Gonzalez '18