Sanctuary for Families


Sanctuary for Families


Our office is able to host a REMOTE OR IN-PERSON intern (depending on mutual preference).


WORKING HOURS: The intern needs to keep the same business hours as our office.


ABOUT US: 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). 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 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. Applicants should possess strong interpersonal, analytical and writing skills and have a commitment to social justice. Experience or interest in working directly with clients and on issues of gender violence is a strong asset, as is coursework in family law. Proficiency in a foreign language, particularly Spanish, is helpful but not required.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: The CAP team is small and collaborative. The CAP program is run by Director Betsy Tsai, who is assisted by Deputy Director Lindsey Song. There are three additional attorneys on board, and the sixth member is the Project Assistant. The intern works closely with the Project Assistant to maintain contact between clients and the attorneys, to assist the attorneys, and to provide case management to clients. CAP accepts referrals from all Sanctuary departments as well as agencies across New York, so there is ample opportunity to connect with many professionals in the IPV realm.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Web Camera, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)

2020 Intern Reflection:

Sanctuary for Families has given me the opportunity to be entirely immersed in the world of family court and immigration law. This internship is hands-on, in-depth work from interviewing clients to drafting affidavits. Be prepared to feel a little bit out of your depth - this internship has been about learning by doing - in an incredibly valuable and rewarding way. I would definitely encourage students who are interested in law, gender-based violence and immigration to apply for this incredibly enriching and important interview.

-Gracie Western '21

2019 Intern Reflection:

I’ve had several legal internships in the past, and this is the first one that has truly been hands on. My daily responsibilities range from helping clients file for citizenship and U-visa status to advocating for clients in Family Court to writing advocacy letters to secure funding for clients in need of basic necessities. Because I split my time between CAP and IIP, I am exposed to many facets of Sanctuary’s work and gain insight into the important roles that both attorneys and social workers play in the lives of Sanctuary’s clients.

The work environment is also a really special part of this internship. Everybody is incredibly friendly and supportive. I’ve really appreciated how accessible the various staff members are and how much interaction there is between the legal, clinical, and financial departments. If you’re interested in getting hands-on experience in the law and want to see how a successful, holistic public service model works, there is no better place than Sanctuary for Families.

Alex Greenberg '21

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

New York City, NY